- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Wisconsin residents are less likely to splurge on fancy cars, homes and five-star meals than their counterparts on the East and West coasts, according to the federal government’s compilation of statistics spanning a 16-year period from 1997 to 2012.

The data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis determined the state’s residents spent an average of $34,721 on household goods, utilities and general personal consumption in 2012, below the national average and much less than big spenders like Massachusetts’ average of $47,308. The District of Columbia beat out at 50 states in personal per capital spending, with an average of $59,423 spent in 2012.

The findings are part of the first data set of its kind created by the federal agency, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1bDrCV9 ) reported.

“For the first time, we now have rich data on consumer spending decisions in each state,” said Penny Pritzker, secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

But the data doesn’t account for state-by-state difference in cost of living. If the bureau will figure out a way to adjust state spending for cost-of-living differences without distorting data if it eventually decides to publish official annual state-by-state consumer data, according to agency economist Ledia Guci.

However, the bureau’s findings would be of interest to anyone who anyone who sees a mix of trade-offs that make every region unique, like regional consumer confidence, relative affluence and lifestyles, according to Brian Jacobsen, a Milwaukee-area economist at Wells Fargo Funds Management.

“California might have nice weather, but housing is less onerous in Wisconsin,” Jacobsen said.

The report also includes enough substance to reach the conclusion that Wisconsin residents would spend less than many other states in most categories, especially in terms of cars and appliances, even if cost-of-living adjustments were available, he said.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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