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New York consumers' confidence is on the rise and has reached its highest levels since March 2017, according to the latest data from the New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment.

The Siena Research Institute survey of New Yorker consumers in for the third quarter of 2018 resulted in a consumer sentiment score of 93.6, up 4.4 points from three months ago. That's below the national index of 100.1, but well above the breakeven point for a positive or negative consumer outlook.

"Driving the strength of the index is increasing optimism towards future conditions enjoyed by every demographic except low income and older New Yorkers who held steady," said Doug Lonnstrom, professor of statistics and finance at Siena College and SRI founding director, in a press release issued Monday. "Especially up were NYC residents, democrats, young residents and those with high incomes."

According to the survey, 17 percent of consumers plan to buy cars or trucks, up from 14.3 percent and 41.5 percent reported they plan to purchase electronics, up from 40.3 percent. Buying plans are down for furniture, down to 26.3 percent from 27.7 percent; homes, down to 6.9 percent from 7.4 percent; and major home improvements, down to 19 percent from 21.6 percent. 

Additionally, those surveyed indicated they were less worried about gas and food prices. 

“Concerns over both the bite food and gas take out of the monthly budget fell this quarter," Lonnstrom said. "Gas worries were down by 5 points while food fell by 3. Both contribute to the growing optimism and should lead to freer consumer spending. Buying plans for cars and trucks reached 17 percent, the highest since last year at this time, while plans to purchase homes fell slightly but remained strong at nearly 7 percent.”

The Siena consumer confidence poll took place Sept. 8-17 with phone interviews of 800 New York residents. It has a 3.8-percent margin of error.

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