- Associated Press - Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pennsylvania consumers bought more cars and trucks and boosted their spending in other areas as the nation emerged from recession.

First-of-its-kind economic data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Commerce provides a state-by-state look at how consumers responded in the years after the Great Recession officially ended in 2009.

Consumer spending in Pennsylvania rose about 11 percent, or $3,700 per person, between 2009 and 2012, slightly exceeding the national average for spending growth. It was in the middle of the pack among the 50 states, placing 25th.

Though Pennsylvania consistently lags in job growth, the state’s concentration of relatively stable jobs in health care, higher education and pharmaceuticals, especially around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, helped drive consistent gains in spending, said Michael F. Smith, a Temple University professor who specializes in consumer behavior and retail spending.

An aging population also means that Pennsylvania consistently spends a lot on health care: $87 billion in 2012 alone, according to the government data released Thursday. With the fourth-oldest population in the country, Pennsylvania spent more on health care than on anything else, even housing, the report said.

Pennsylvania consumers spent about $16.7 billion on cars, trucks and auto parts in 2012, an increase of 24 percent over 2009, reflecting pent-up demand and aggressive marketing by auto dealers.

“As the economic outlook was starting to brighten, the automobile companies have been very aggressive with promotions and financing. That’s part of what is moving this along. If you can’t afford a house, one of the things you may be able to afford is a new car,” Smith said.

Consumer spending in Pennsylvania slowed dramatically in 2012, the latest year for which data are available, rising 2.8 percent. Pennsylvania ranked No. 38 that year.

The Commerce report covers household spending on food, gas, housing, utilities, health care and other items.


Online: https://1.usa.gov/1sBluAZ

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide