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Growth in expenditures slows

WASHINGTON — Average annual expenditures per consumer unit rose 1.7 percent in 2008 following an increase of 2.6 percent in 2007, according to results from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The spending increase was less than the 3.8-percent increase in prices from 2007 to 2008 as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The increase in spending in 2008 was the smallest increase since the 0.3-percent rise in 2003.

Increases in spending for housing (1.1 percent) and food (5.1 percent) were somewhat offset by decreases in spending for transportation (-1.8 percent) and apparel (-4.3 percent) resulting in the small overall increase in 2008. Among the other major components, spending increased for healthcare (4.3 percent), personal insurance and pensions (5 percent) and entertainment (5.1 percent).

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