The trend in consumer sentiment changed in the last quarter, with sharp gains in September following two down months in July and August. According to Siena Research Institute Director Dr. Douglas Lonnstrom, who compiles the data, consumer confidence in Rochester and other regions in the state is also up significantly compared to this time one year ago. In Rochester, it's up 17 percent, and that points to the likelihood of an improved holiday shopping season, according to Lonnstrom. But he adds any dramatic negative news, like five dollar a gallon gas prices, could have a devastating impact on consumer confidence. The Consumer Sentiment index is a measurement of people's willingness to spend as opposed to their ability to spend.