Consumer expenditures increase in 2011 for the first time in 3 years

June 21, 2013

From 2010 to 2011, average annual consumer expenditures increased 3.3 percent—the first increase in 3 years. Even with the increase, due to a 4.8-percent drop from 2008 to 2010, consumer spending in 2011 was still below the level in 2008.

12-month percent change in average annual consumer expenditures, average annual income before taxes, Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), 1985–2011
 Average annual expenditures (1)Average annual income before taxes (1) (2)CPI-U All Items

1985

6.97.13.6

1986

1.61.31.9

1987

2.37.33.6

1988

6.14.44.1

1989

7.49.74.8

1990

2.11.95.4

1991

4.36.34.2

1992

0.8-0.13.0

1993

2.83.03.0

1994

3.43.82.6

1995

1.72.02.8

1996

4.83.03.0

1997

3.05.02.3

1998

2.14.21.6

1999

4.15.62.2

2000

2.81.63.4

2001

3.96.42.8

2002

2.94.01.6

2003

0.33.42.3

2004

6.36.52.7

2005

6.97.83.4

2006

4.33.13.2

2007

2.64.22.8

2008

1.70.73.8

2009

-2.8-1.1-0.4

2010

-2.0-0.61.6

2011

3.31.93.2

Footnotes:
(1) Data on average annual consumer expenditures and average annual income before taxes are nominal.
(2) Prior to 2004, data on income was only published for "complete income reporters." In 2004, the Consumer Expenditures program began imputing data for those respondents whose income data was incomplete for various reasons. Post-2004 figures reflect this inclusion.
 

The increase in consumer expenditures from 2010 to 2011 was due in part to a rise in incomes from 2010 to 2011 and the effect of inflation on prices paid by consumers. Over the year, average annual income before taxes increased 1.9 percent in 2011. Average income in 2011 was just $122 higher than the average income in 2008. Prices as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U, U.S. city average, all items) rose by 3.2 percent in 2011, just below the 3.3-percent increase in consumer spending. In 2010, consumer prices increased by just 1.6 percent.

During 2011, consumers increased spending in expenditure categories such as food, housing, apparel and services, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. Expenditures on education decreased 2.4 percent.  

12-month percent change in average annual expenditures and the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), selected items, 1994–2011
 Average annual expenditures (1)CPI-U
FoodHousingApparel and servicesTransportationHealth careEntertainmentEducationFoodHousingApparelTransportationMedical careRecreationEducation

1994

0.34.9-1.910.8-1.2-3.61.12.42.5-0.23.04.82.26.3

1995

2.13.53.6-0.5-1.32.92.42.82.6-1.03.64.51.95.6

1996

4.32.82.86.12.213.811.33.32.9-0.22.83.53.15.3

1997

2.24.9-1.31.24.0-1.19.02.62.60.90.92.82.35.0

1998

0.23.9-3.22.53.4-3.71.62.22.30.1-1.93.21.54.9

1999

4.62.94.16.02.98.39.52.12.2-1.32.03.50.94.8

2000

2.52.26.55.85.5-1.5-0.52.33.5-1.36.24.11.35.1

2001

3.25.6-6.12.95.64.82.53.24.0-1.80.74.61.55.3

2002

1.02.10.31.77.76.516.01.82.2-2.6-0.94.71.26.3

2003

-0.71.1-6.20.32.8-0.94.12.22.5-2.53.14.01.26.7

2004

8.33.610.70.36.57.715.63.42.5-0.43.54.41.06.9

2005

2.69.03.97.03.57.73.92.43.3-0.76.64.20.76.3

2006

3.07.9-0.62.03.8-0.5-5.52.43.80.04.04.01.46.2

2007

0.43.40.42.93.113.66.44.03.1-0.42.14.40.55.7

2008

5.11.1-4.3-1.84.35.110.75.53.2-0.15.93.71.65.8

2009

-1.1-1.3-4.2-11.05.0-5.02.11.80.41.0-8.33.20.95.3

2010

-3.8-2.0-1.40.21.0-7.00.60.8-0.4-0.57.93.4-0.84.4

2011

5.41.52.48.04.92.7-2.13.71.32.29.83.00.04.2

Footnotes:
(1) Data on average annual consumer expenditures are nominal.
 

From 2010 to 2011, the 8.0-percent increase in transportation expenditures can largely be attributed to a 24.5-percent increase in gasoline and motor oil expenditures. Transportation prices, as measured by the CPI-U, rose by 9.8 percent. Following a 3.3-percent decrease in spending on housing from 2008 to 2010, expenditures on housing increased 1.5 percent in 2011.  The CPI-U for housing increased 1.3 percent in 2011.

These data come from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. To learn more, see "Consumer Expenditures in 2011" (PDF), BLS Report 1042. Prior to 2004, data on income was only published for "complete income reporters." In 2004, the Consumer Expenditures program began imputing data for those respondents whose income data was incomplete for various reasons. Post-2004 figures reflect this inclusion. Data on average annual consumer expenditures and average annual income before taxes are nominal. Consumer units include families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share expenses.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Consumer expenditures increase in 2011 for the first time in 3 years on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130621.htm (visited October 01, 2014).

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