Consumer Spending at Fastest Growth in Years
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- According to the Labor Department, American consumers increased their average annual spending by 3.3 percent in 2011; that's the fastest increase since 2006.
"I feel comfortable spending money and traveling," said Karen Okeson.
Officials say the economy in Grand Junction hit an all time low at the end of 2008, slightly after the rest of the nation, and it's slowing making its way back up.
"It's still fragile, but I would say people are spending a little more than they have been over the past couple of years," said Diane Schwenke, CEO of the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce.
Local business owners are seeing the change. "This summer we hit it out of the park," said Elise Hall, owner of the Candy Time Shoppe and Novelties.
However, the Labor Department reports some of the 2011 spending increase came from the pricing increase of commodities, as consumers' costs rose 3.2 percent.
However, officials say it's not always how often you shop, but where you shop. "You may not be spending as much money, but where you spend it does make a difference, every dollar," said Schwenke.
"I bought a souvenir shirt at the embroider shop, and we are still shopping," said Okeson.
Local businesses and at least one area winery are noticing the number of products being sold.
"People are buying cases instead of bottles, and that's been the first time that's happened since I'd say 2008," said Ray McFarland.
To support local businesses, the Chamber of Commerce has declared October as "shop local month."
Folks are encouraged to save their receipts when they buy something from a local store, and drop the receipt off at either the Mesa Mall, Chamber of Commerce, Crystal Books and Gifts downtown or Ace Hardware in Clifton to win a drawing.
The prizes include furniture or a gym membership, along with other prizes.
The receipt event runs from Oct. 1-16.