A new Siena Survey finds NY Consumer Sentiment Flat. The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment increased 0.3 points in December, while the nation’s Index increased 7.4 points, according to the latest poll by the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI).
At 73.6, New York’s overall Index of Consumer Sentiment is 8.9 points below the nation’s* Index of 82.5. Siena Pollster Don Levy: "On the high side we're saying that there are a fair number of New Yorkers, about thirty per cent, who are optimistic. They say that either things have gotten better for them already, or they're really hopeful about the year ahead. Who's most optimistic? This probably doesn't come as a surprise. Those people who are the highest earners. People making 100 thousand dollars or more a year tend to feel pretty good about their prospects as well as younger New Yorkers. What's surprising, I think at this point, is there is slightly more pessimissm than optimism, where 30 per cent of New Yorkers can be identified as optimistic, they feel as though the tide has turned, unfortunately, 40 per cent, a plurality of New Yorkers, continue to describe their lives as things have either gotten worse the past year or they anticipate it will get worse in the year ahead."
Levy adds that New Yorkers are more positive about business conditions both for the next year and the next five years, but when asked about their personal prospects, New Yorkers describe fewer recent gains and more trepidation than other Americans.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told reporters in his final news conference as head of the 100-year-old institution "The economy is continuing to make progress, but it also has much farther to travel before conditions can be judged normal."
Dan Moran with NextAct of Colonie says the recovery is falling short when it comes to impacting the job market. "Nationally, jobs are running somewhere around 50 per cent less than we had before the recession. And in our regions, specifically, we're seeing about 25 per cent lower job levels on a week to week basis. So it's true when people say the recovery has slowed, the recovery has never been full steam but it is much much better than it was a year, two years ago, when some of the job numbers are absolutely pitiful. Do we see 2014 being better? Absolutely, but I don't see us being back to pre-recession levels in jobs, and for those who have long term unemployment, that's still a critical issue and that is not gonna go away."
Moran is looking for more economic stimulus as Washington struggles with job-related issues including raising the minimum wage even higher and extending unemployment benefits.