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Oil boom, housing bust alter U.S. spending trends

Oklahomans spend the least, per person, on food, according to new government figures.
FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS Published: August 8, 2014

North Dakotans and Oklahomans, enriched by an oil boom, stepped up their spending in the three years that followed the Great Recession. In Nevada, smacked hard by the housing bust, consumers barely increased their spending.

Americans spend the most, per person, on housing in Washington, D.C., and the least in West Virginia. They spend the least on food in Oklahoma, and the most in Alaska.

Those and other figures emerged Thursday from a new annual report from the government that for the first time reveals consumer spending on a state-by-state basis from 1997 through 2012. The numbers point to substantial shifts in the economy since the recession ended. The recession, which began in December 2007, officially ended in June 2009.

Spending jumped 28 percent in North Dakota, the largest gain nationwide, from 2009 through 2012. It surged nearly 16 percent in Oklahoma. The next-largest increases were in South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.

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, North Dakota’s per-capita spending was $44,029, fourth-highest nationwide. (The figures aren’t adjusted for inflation.)

In Oklahoma, per-person spending was $31,391 in 2012, compared with $27,154 in 2009 when the recession ended. Oklahoma’s per-person spending remains below the national average of $35,498 in 2012.

North Dakota has boomed in large part and Oklahoma has benefited from new drilling methods that have unlocked vast oil and gas reserves. North Dakota’s per-person income soared 37.2 percent, before inflation, from 2009 through 2012, according to a separate report released this year. That’s by far the most for any state. North Dakota’s unemployment rate was a barely visible 2.7 percent in June, the lowest in the nation. Oklahoma’s June jobless rate of 4.5 percent was the seventh-lowest in the nation.

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