Tennessee spending outpaces U.S. average since recession

Tennessee spending outpaces U.S. average since recession

August 8th, 2014 by Associated Press and Staff Report in Business Around the Region

Lindsey, left, and Matthew May look at Ford Explorers at Mountain View Ford in this file photo.

Lindsey, left, and Matthew May look at Ford...

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

Per capita spending in 2012

* Tennessee, $31,417, up 12.2 percent since 2009

* Georgia, $31,219, up 9.7 percent since 2009

* Alabama, $29,537, up 10.2 percent

* U.S. average, $35,498, up 10.7 percent

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Consumer spending in Tennessee outpaced the national average since the Great Recession ended five years ago, according to a government report released Thursday.

Per capita spending in Tennessee grew from 2009 to 2012 by $3,411, or 12.2 percent, to outpace the national spending recovery from the depths of the economic downturn. Although Tennessee is yet to recover all of the jobs lost during the recession, spending by Tennesseans has continued to grow, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But per capita spending lagged behind the U.S. average in neighboring Georgia and Alabama from 2009 to 2012.

With lower earnings for most Southerners, all three states still averaged less spending per person in 2012 than the nation as a whole.

The numbers released Thursday point to substantial shifts in the economy since the recession ended with oil rich states making the biggest gains and states hard hit by the housing slump lagging behind.

Spending jumped 28 percent in North Dakota, the largest gain nationwide, from 2009 through 2012, the latest year for which figures are available. It surged nearly 16 percent in Oklahoma.

By contrast, spending eked out a scant 3.5 percent increase in Nevada, the weakest for any state and far below the 10.7 percent national average. Arizona's 6.2 percent increase was next-weakest. Home values plummeted in both states once the housing bust hit in 2006.

The changes in spending patterns in North Dakota have been particularly dramatic. Its per-capita spending in 2007, before the recession began, was $32,780. That ranked it 24th among states. By 2012, the figure was $44,029, fourth-highest nationwide. (The figures aren't adjusted for inflation.)

North Dakota has boomed in large part because of a breakthrough drilling technique, known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," that has unlocked vast oil and gas reserves. The state's per-person income soared 16.2 percent, before inflation, from 2011 to 2012, by far the most for any state.

The report points to wide spending disparities elsewhere in the country. Per-person spending in 2012 was highest in Washington, D.C., at $59,423, followed by Massachusetts at $47,308. Spending was lowest that year in Mississippi, at $27,406. Arkansas was the second-lowest, at $28,366.

The government's report also includes figures for specific spending categories. The typical Tennessean spent more in 2012 on health care ($5,414) than he or she spent on housing and utilities ($5,407). Per capita spending on food and beverages -- both at home and in restaurants -- averaged $2,538 a year, or $6.95 a day. In 2012, Tennesseans, on average, spent another $1,187, or $3.25 a day, for gasoline and other energy costs.