Despite a cloudy economic outlook and renewed fears about an impending recession, consumer spending by state actually increased last year, new figures released on Thursday revealed.
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According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumer spending across the states increased by 5.1 percent in 2018 — an increase from 4.4 percent in 2017. In part, the jump stemmed from an increase in spending on expenditures such as health care, which climbed 4.9 percent, and housing utilities, up 4.6 percent.
The change in consumer spending ranged across all states, with the largest growth in Utah at 7.3 percent, and the smallest in West Virginia at 3.6 percent. Consumers in Utah spent a large chunk on nondurable goods, up 10.6 percent, but also on health care, up 5.2 percent. Those were the leading contributors to growth.
But consumer spending lagged in West Virginia, the second-poorest state in the country. Spending was below the national average in every category, the Department of Labor’s report found.
Following Utah, consumers in Washington, Idaho and Colorado spent the most — at 6.8 percent, 6.3 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi, Louisiana and Iowa spent the least, at 3.7 percent, 3.8 percent and 3.8 percent.
Per capita consumer spending was $42,757 across the entire country, but ranged from a high of $55,095 in Massachusetts to a low of $31,083 in Mississippi.