New York State consumer confidence increased 2.4 points in April, while the nation's confidence increased 4.6 points, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI).
At 62.1, New York's overall consumer confidence is 0.2 points above the nation's 61.9 confidence level.
"Slow, encouraging progress this month as the state's overall index climbed back into the 60's," noted Dr. Douglas Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI Founding Director.
"New York's overall index and the nation's stand virtually tied. Nationally, confidence is somewhat buoyed by greater current confidence while New Yorkers on average see the future as only slightly brighter than the present.
"A closer look reveals a tale of two states; today and tomorrow are quite different for many state residents. Democrats, New York City folks, the young, women and low-income favor tomorrow, while upper-income, men, Republicans and upstaters prefer conditions today to their expectations for the future. We still have a long way to go to return to pre-recession confidence levels and spending intent. Buying plans remain down 20 to 35 percent from April 2007."
Forty percent of all New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, the same as last month. Sixty-four percent of state residents indicate that the amount of money they spend on groceries is having either a very serious or somewhat serious impact on their finances. Thirty-four percent of state residents say that both gasoline and food prices are having either a somewhat or very serious impact on their finances down from a high of 71 percent in July.
"Gas and food prices have stabilized and so has consumers' reaction. Still, about four in 10, especially upstaters and lower income citizens, remain affected by gas prices, and six in 10, especially lower income New Yorkers where that number jumps to 76 percent, are seriously impacted by food prices," said Lonnstrom.