UPSTATE N.Y. (WETM) – As inflation hits all-time highs, the latest data measuring how people feel about the economy shows consumers in New York feel a little better about the economy than they did a few months ago. However, data also shows Upstate New Yorkers, specifically, are not feeling the same optimism as the rest of the state.

In a very rare occurrence, the most recent consumer sentiment report from the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) shows New York State’s index above the nation’s index.

New York’s consumer index increased by only 1.2 percent, but that has put the state as a whole at 73.1, above the nation’s index of 67.4 by almost six points.

“We’ve been comparing new york to the nation since 1999… Very seldom do we see New York’s consumer sentiment index end up being above the nation as a whole…It’s surprising, it only happens once in a while, ” noted the Director of Siena College Research Institute, Don Levy.

When we take a closer look at data at specifically Upstate New York, consumer sentiment drops to an index of 64, lower than that nation’s index, and well below the state’s index.

But what is making Upstate New Yorkers feel worse about the economy than the rest of the state?

“Gasoline and food [prices] have a very real and psychological impact…The inflation impact has clearly gotten the attention of…folks in Upstate quite specifically,” said Dr. Levy.

70 percent of Upstate New Yorkers say that current gasoline prices are having a very serious/somewhat serious impact on their financial condition, according to an SCRI poll.

“I’m on the road every single day, and I have to put gas in my tank every day, and the last couple weeks have been rough,” said Upstate resident, John Galvin while pumping gas.

The current average price of gas in New York is $3.50. The last time gas prices were around this rate was in 2014, but at that point, only 40 percent of New Yorkers said it was a concern.

“I think it definitely has to do with the pandemic,” said Galvin.

As for food prices, currently, data for Upstate New York shows three out of four respondents tell us that food prices are having a serious impact on their budget, according to Dr. Levy.

Despite their current concerns, Upstate New Yorkers do have hope for the future of New York’s economy.

“We are slightly more optimistic about the future if you’re in…Upstate specifically… we’re beginning to see the chance that we’re going to recover, yet, we’re very much concerned with inflation,” said Dr. Levy.