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W.Va. consumer spending higher than pre-recession

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Consumer spending in West Virginia is higher than it was before the Great Recession but is lagging behind the national average in spending growth.

Figures released Thursday by the federal government for the first time show how much, or how little, consumer spending rose across the country, from the time the recession officially ended in June 2009 through 2012.

Overall, the figures show consumer spending has soared since the recession ended five years ago in U.S. states with oil and gas drilling booms, and has lagged in states hit especially hard by the housing bust.

Here’s a breakdown of West Virginia’s numbers:

How much are West Virginians spending?

On average, each West Virginian spent $30,642 on consumer goods and services in 2012, the most recent year figures are available. That’s less than the national per capita or per-person spending of $35,498.

West Virginia’s per capita consumer spending in 2012 grew 3.2 percent over the previous year, slightly weaker than the 3.3 percent growth in per capita consumer spending by the entire nation in 2012.

How are West Virginians spending their money?

Of the money spent on consumer goods and services in 2012, West Virginians doled out more than $6,365 on health care and spent $4,536 for housing and utilities. West Virginians on average each spent $2,855 on groceries and paid out about $1,600 for gasoline and other energy goods. All other consumer spending — which includes things like clothing; motor vehicles; and food, financial and transportation services — totaled $15,540.

The numbers in West Virginia are higher than the national per capita figures in health care ($5,886 nationally), gasoline and other energy goods ($1,328).

What happened to spending in West Virginia during the recession?

After total consumer spending gains of 4.5 percent between 2006 and 2007, West Virginia’s spending growth slowed to 3.4 percent between 2007 and 2008 and even further by 1.7 percent from 2008 to 2009. Between 2007 and 2008, per capita spending in West Virginia grew $787 to $26,701 and increased even further to $27,045 in 2009. Comparatively, national spending dipped by 1.6 percent from 2008 to 2009, falling $821 to $32,064 on a per capita basis.

How has West Virginia fared since the recession?

From 2009 to 2012, total consumer spending in West Virginia rose 13.8 percent to $56.85 billion, compared with a 13.3 percent increase in national consumer spending topping $11.14 trillion. During that same time, West Virginia’s per capita consumer spending rose 13.3 percent, while national per capita consumer spending rose 10.7 percent.

— The Associated Press

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