BLS: Consumer Spending in 2010

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on January 13, 2012

News release: “On the basis of data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), consumers spent less in 2010, compared with 2009, on almost all major components of the household budget. Average annual expenditures per consumer unit (CU)[1] fell 2.0 percent, and average annual income before taxes dropped 0.6 percent, the second consecutive yearly decline for both of these measures. Overview of Spending:

  • Entertainment expenditures, which tend to be more discretionary, fell 7.0 percent in 2010, the most in percentage terms of any category. All subcomponents of entertainment spending fell, with fees and admissions spending reduced by 7.5 percent.

  • Overall food spending decreased 3.8 percent. Spending on food away from home fell more than spending on food at home, 4.4 percent versus 3.4 percent, respectively. Consumers spent 6.9 percent less on going out to dinner, a subcomponent of food away from home, in 2010.
  • Mortgage interest payments and charges, a subcomponent of housing, fell 6.8 percent, evidence of the continued weakness of the housing market in the nation.
  • Donations to charities and other organizations fell 23.4 percent, and charitable giving to churches and religious organizations dropped 8.8 percent.
  • Healthcare, one of two major spending components that increased, rose 1.0 percent. The 2.6-percent jump in health insurance spending, a subcomponent of healthcare, fueled the healthcare increase.
  • The 0.2-percent increase in transportation spending was driven by a 7.3-percent rise in gasoline and motor oil expenditures.

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