Some 54 percent of New Yorkers say the war in Ukraine and the international response to it will lead to long-term economic problems resulting in financial difficulties that all Americans will face for years, according to a new statewide survey of consumers by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI).
Thirty-two percent are more inclined to say that the war will soon end and despite significant short-term economic impacts, the American economy as well as the personal finances of Americans will be largely unaffected, the survey indicated. Seventy percent say that inflation is having either a very (26 percent) or somewhat (44 percent) serious negative effect on their personal finances.
The survey said in light of current economic conditions and the war in Ukraine, 87 percent are concerned about food prices, 80 percent are concerned with the cost of gasoline, 76 percent with home utility costs, 71 percent with the worth of the American dollar and 68 percent with the value of their retirement accounts.
In response to price increases due to inflation, 69 percent will buy less in general, 67 percent will buy less expensive items and 28 percent plan to dip into savings to pay for everyday expenses. Over a third, 35 percent plan to get a second job or generate another source of income while 34 percent now say that they will postpone or cancel a vacation in the next six months.
“Inflation had gotten New Yorkers’ attention, but now add in war in Ukraine and consumers are very concerned, and many are planning to cut back,” said SCRI director Don Levy. “While a third think the war will soon be over and that our finances will not be largely affected, over half believe the war in Ukraine will generate economic shock waves that New Yorkers will face for years to come.”
“Gas, food and utilities costs are a concern for between 76-87 percent of all New Yorkers,” Levy said. “And with inflation soaring, about 70 percent worry about the American dollar’s worth and the value of their retirement accounts. With the pandemic’s effects lessening, New Yorkers were ready to exhale, but economic conditions and war in Eastern Europe have us holding our breath again.
“Food prices and gasoline, now worry at least eight out of every ten New Yorkers and with 70 percent saying inflation is negatively affecting their finances and 71 percent concerned about the worth of the dollar, those kitchen table discussions are not for the faint of heart.”
Asked what strategies they are now using or plan to use in the next six months in response to price increases due to inflation, 69 percent of responders said are buying less in general, 67 percent are buying less expensive items, 28 percent are dipping into savings, and 22 percent are using credit cards and carrying the debt forward. Ten percent say that they are continuing to live and spend as before.
Thirty-five percent of all New Yorkers, 50 percent of those 18-34 years of age, 46-50 percent of Blacks and Latinos and 42 percent of those with children in their household will get a second job or generate another source of income in response to inflation. One quarter will stop or reduce savings contributions and 34 percent will postpone or cancel a vacation.
“We will have to wait and see how the economy reacts this spring and summer and what the impact of war in Ukraine will be, but for now, New Yorkers weary from two years of COVID, are expressing economic concerns that will pre-occupy their decisions and perhaps slow economic activity in New York,” Levy said.