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.
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, followed by Hawaii, Florida and Utah.
When the housing bust struck in 2006, home values plummeted in Nevada, Arizona and Florida. The persistently weak consumer spending in those states underscores the lingering damage the housing bust inflicted on their economies.
The government’s new report includes figures for specific spending categories. For example, in 2012, consumers spent the most on housing and utilities in Washington, D.C., where per-capita spending reached $11,985, followed by Hawaii at $10,002. Connecticut and Maryland ranked third and fourth. Those figures largely reflect high rents in those areas.
The individual categories of spending data tend to coincide with regional cost-of-living differences. Consumers in Alaska, where food costs are generally high, spent the most on groceries, laying out $3,852 in 2012, followed by Vermont at $3,622, New Hampshire, $3,616, and Hawaii, $3,615.
The cold-weather state of North Dakota led the nation in spending on gas and energy, paying a per-capita $3,916 in 2012. Wyoming, South Dakota and Maine spent the next-largest amounts. Oklahoma ranked 10th on per-capita energy expenses at $1,918 in 2012. Hawaii spent the least, at just $882, followed by New York, Florida and California.