- <p>The Binghamton region's consumer confidence index, a measurement of the spending and savings habits of consumers, decreased by 8 percent this quarter — from 55.1 to 50.8 points — making it the region with the lowest consumer confidence index in New York, according to a study released by Siena Research Institute (SRI) last Monday.</p><p><span data-scayt_word="Subimal" data-scaytid="1">Subimal</span> <span data-scayt_word="Chatterjee" data-scaytid="2">Chatterjee</span>, a marketing professor and associate dean of the School of Management, said he was already aware of economic decline in the region.</p><p>"I don't need numbers to tell me things are bad and neither do other people," <span data-scayt_word="Chatterjee" data-scaytid="3">Chatterjee</span> said. "The question is why this is so bad for so long, and the big issue is creating <span data-scayt_word="jobs."" data-scaytid="4">jobs."</span></p><p>The index was measured on a scale of one to 150 points for nine metropolitan areas in New York. SRI asked those it surveyed questions focused on three core topics: personal finances, state of businesses and buying decisions.</p><p>Some shoppers said the ways they try to cut back their spending include using coupons, looking for sales, eating in and making less shopping trips to save on gas.</p><p>Stacy Hubbard, a resident of Berkshire who was shopping at the Vestal Walmart with her husband on Sunday, said she now uses a grocery list when shopping and tries to avoid buying things that are not household necessities.</p><p>"We try, but it's hard to save money with no more raises and prices going up," Hubbard said.</p><p>Henry <span data-scayt_word="Esquivel" data-scaytid="5">Esquivel</span>, another Broome County resident, said he thinks rising living costs attract people to major discount department stores.</p><p>"I think that's why people come to stores like Walmart and <span data-scayt_word="TJ" data-scaytid="7">TJ</span> Maxx," <span data-scayt_word="Esquivel" data-scaytid="6">Esquivel</span> said.</p><p><span data-scayt_word="Chatterjee" data-scaytid="8">Chatterjee</span> said he is less willing to spend in this economic climate.</p><p>"How am I doing today?" he asked rhetorically. "How will I do tomorrow? Can I buy the stuff I want? Can I live the way I want to live? If the answers are all yes, then I'm confident. It's not so much my ability [to spend], it's my willingness."</p><p>Chatterjee said consumers have trouble determining their confidence based on indicators in the market.</p><p>"Let's say I go buy a house or a car, it stimulates the economy, and hence it grows," Chatterjee said. "But, at the same time, if the economy is doing poorly, if consumers look and see the last 10 quarters [haven't] gone up, it's a lagging indicator."</p><p>Residents said that confidence was necessary for recovery.</p><p>"People will hold onto their money if they think recession's around the bend," said Gayle Laganiere, a resident of Tioga County.</p><p>Confidence was down everywhere in New York this quarter, except for the Capital District, which saw growth supported by local technology industry, and Long Island, which remained neutral in the rankings.</p><p>"Let's recap: debt ceiling crisis, national political turmoil, Europe hanging by a thread, Wall Street roller coaster and no new jobs in sight — [it's] no surprise the third quarter saw confidence drop in almost every region in New York," said Douglas Lonnstrom, a statistics and finance professor at Siena College and SRI's founding director.</p><p>Residents overwhelmingly agreed that proper government action would help revive the economy.</p><p>"[We need] better government focused on the people and not just the government," Hubbard said. "We need jobs, more focus on the middle-class, because that's what's suffering. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and we gotta deal with both evils."</p><p>Chatterjee agreed that jobs are important, but emphasized the role of entrepreneurship rather than government in speeding recovery.</p><p>"There needs to be an impetus, something around which the economy can grow," he said. "The government, it plays an important role, but the next big thing isn't going to happen from the government."</p>
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