According to the BEA report, per-capita consumer spending in Pennsylvania grew about 14 percent since 2007 to $37,618, a faster rate of growth than in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, faster even than in Washington, D.C., which at $59,423 had the highest consumer spending in the nation.
New Jersey's per-capita spending, which ranked in the top tier, rose to $42,654, an increase of 10 percent.
The lowest was in Mississippi, at $27,406.
That Pennsylvania is behind New York and Washington is hardly surprising, said Michael F. Smith, a chair of the department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management at Temple University's Fox School of Business. Pennsylvania doesn't have industries with explosive growth potential like the financial services sector in New York or the intense concentration of government employment in Washington and the services that feed off of it, he said.
But the state's concentration of hospitals and other medical-services providers, universities, and pharmaceutical companies functions as a substantial base and likely cushioned residents from the harsher effects of the recession. It may also have accounted for some of the growth that has occurred in recent years, Smith said.
Smith said the state's aging population may have also proved to be an economic boon, with its steady stream of Social Security income.
Moreover, the expansion of energy development through hydraulic fracturing has the potential to accelerate economic growth in Pennsylvania, he said.
"You have the whole fracking issue and what impact that will have in terms of revenue to the state," Smith said. "That will have a more measurable impact over the next five years."
The tables released Thursday were the first look by the federal government at state-by-state consumer spending trends, bureau spokeswoman Jeannine Aversa said. She said the bureau planned to begin releasing the data annually beginning in fall 2015.