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U.S. consumer spending up slightly in February

Staff writer |
Americans' daily self-reports of spending increased slightly to an average of $84 in February, up from $81 in January.

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As in most years since Gallup began tracking consumer spending in 2008, spending rose by at least a small amount in February after a post-holiday dip in January.

February's average of $84 is similar to spending levels recorded in the same month from 2013 to 2015. However, it is a significant improvement from February averages below $65 found from 2009 through 2012, as the nation struggled to emerge from the Great Recession and financial crisis.

The February 2008 average, $106, is one of the highest monthly averages Gallup has found over the past eight years.

The February 2016 average is based on interviews with more than 14,000 U.S. adults. Each day, Gallup asks Americans how much they spent "yesterday" in restaurants, gas stations, stores or online - not counting home, vehicle or other major purchases, or normal monthly bills - to provide an indication of Americans' discretionary spending.

Average spending hovered around $90 for most of 2015, although the January and February averages were significantly lower and the December average was significantly higher than other months. Spending peaked last year at $99 in December, one of the highest averages for any month since 2008.

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