Personal consumption expenditures grew by about 3.5 percent in New Jersey in 2014, below the national average of 4.2 percent, according to a new study released by the Commerce Department. One reason our spending grew more slowly than those of other states is that it was already very high: At $9,128, New Jersey's annual spending on housing and utilities per capita is second highest in the nation, trailing only Maryland.
Expenditures on housing and utilities were the fastest-growing category in the nation last year, rising by 4.1 percent. Spending on health care was close behind, at 3.9 percent. Spending on gasoline and energy, meanwhile, dropped by 2.9 percent nationwide.
The state where overall spending grew the fastest in 2014 was North Dakota, where it was up 7.2 percent. In West Virginia, spending grew by just 2.1 percent, dead last among the 50 states.