Fla. consumer spending higher than pre-recession, but growth lags behind nation

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Three years after the Great Recession officially ended, consumer spending by Floridians had surpassed the pre-recession high, but Florida lags behind most other states in spending growth, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data released Thursday.

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Per capita consumer spending in 2012 grew 3.1 percent over the previous year in Florida. That was slightly weaker than the 3.3 percent growth in consumer spending by the entire nation in 2012, the most recent year figures are available.

Since the end of the recession in 2009, consumer spending in Florida has grown only 7.6 percent, the fourth lowest rate among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only Hawaii, Arizona and Nevada had smaller growth. Consumer spending in entire nation grew by 10.7 from 2009 to 2012.

Each Floridian, on average, spent $33,755 on consumer goods and services in 2012, compared to $35,498 for the nation. Of that amount, almost $6,000 was spent on housing and more than $5,600 was spent on health care. The average Floridian spent $2,900 on food and more than $1,000 on gasoline.

The figures released Thursday cover consumer spending for all states from 1997 to 2012, and they provide a snapshot of how consumer spending by Floridians jumped by leaps and bounds mid-decade before crashing down by the end of the decade.

In 2005, total consumer spending increased by 10.5 percent from the previous year in Florida, surpassed only by Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Idaho. By 2009, total consumer spending had contracted 2.8 percent from the previous year. Only Nevada, California, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming experienced larger contractions in year-to-year consumer spending.

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Florida's per capita consumer spending followed a similar trajectory, going from a pre-recession high of $32,899 in 2007 to a post-recession low of $31,743 in 2010.

In all, Floridians spent more than $650 million on consumer goods and services in 2012, accounting for roughly 6 percent of the nation's consumer spending. That figure closely tracks the ratio of Florida's population of 19.5 million residents to the United States' population of 316 million residents.