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Consumer sentiment among New Yorkers remains robust, according to the latest data from Siena College's New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment, which reports increased buying plans for all major categories compared with the third quarter of 2018.

New Yorkers' consumer sentiment score increased from the third quarter by 0.3 points to reach 93.9 points in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the latest poll by the Siena College Research Institute. While New York's overall index is 4.4 points below the national index, Siena reports that state and national indexes are both above break-even points and the balance of optimism and pessimism indicate strength in a consumer-driven market place.

“Despite stock market volatility, consumer sentiment among New Yorkers remains robust," said Don Levy, SCRI’s director, in a press release. "As 2018 ends and a new year begins, 51 percent expect good business conditions in the coming year while only 34 percent anticipate bad times. Looking back, as we often do as the calendar changes, we remember five years ago when an index of 74 measured sentiment right at the breakeven point and 10 years ago when at an index of 58, we were worried about economic collapse."

According to the survey, more consumers plan to buy cars, electronics, furniture and homes than they did three months ago. When it comes to cars, 24.4 percent of consumers plan to make a purchase, up from 17 percent; 51.1 percent of consumers plan to purchase electronics, up from 41.5 percent; 29.6 percent plan to buy furniture, up from 26.3 percent; and 12 percent plan to buy homes, up from 6.9 percent.

“Two-thirds of New Yorkers say that this is a good time to buy the big items that consumers purchase and it looks like many will do just that. Nearly one in four plan to buy a car or truck in the coming six months, half will buy electronics and nearly one in eight intend to purchase a home,” Levy said.

More people are worried about gas and food prices, however, when compared with three months ago.

Forty-three percent of residents are somewhat or very concerned about gas prices, which is up from 35 percent in September. Similarly, 61 percent of residents are concerned about food prices, which is up from 52 percent in September. Together, 37 percent of residents say gas and food prices are having a somewhat or serious impact on finances.

The Siena consumer sentiment poll took place Dec. 2-6, with 500 phone interviews and 406 online responses of New York residents. It has a 3.4-percent margin of error.

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