HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Federal statistics show consumers spent more in New England in 2012 than in any other region in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reported Thursday that housing, health care and food were costlier in the six-state region than in the rest of the United States in 2012. Spending totaled $44,549 per person in the six-state region.

In contrast, consumer spending per person was lowest in the Southwest and Southeast, at about $32,000.

Consumer spending per person in Rhode Island was $36,974 in 2012, New England's weakest showing and due to persistently high unemployment.

In Vermont, spending per person increased 13 percent, to $39,443, from 2009 when the recession ended, to 2012. It was the strongest pace in the region.

Spending per person was highest in the region in Massachusetts, at $47,308 in 2012.


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