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BLS data shows consumers paid more in taxes last year than they did on other major expenses combined

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics put out a report this week that showed consumers in the US last year paid more in taxes than they spent on food, clothing, education and health care combined.

The data, part of BLS’ annual Consumer Expenditure Report, showed that in total, US consumers paid an average of $16,721.42 for food, clothing, education and healthcare combined last year. In the same time period, consumers paid an average of $16,729.73 on taxes.

While the difference is small in total, the data shows a sharp increase in the cost of living since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Average annual expenditures for all consumer units in 2021 were $66,928, a 9.1-percent increase from 2020,” said BLS. “During the same period, the Consumer Price Index…rose 4.7 percent, and average income before taxes increased 3.7 percent.”

The report shows consumer spending increased across the board, with the pandemic easing up and people spending more to do things away from home. Entertainment spending surpassed pre-pandemic levels, including a sharp rise in alcohol expenditures over 2020 levels.

The data also shows earnings increased over the last year, but not as much as spending. “The increase in total spending outpaced the increase in income,” said BLS. “Overall average annual income before taxes rose 3.7 percent in 2021, while expenditures increased 9.1 percent.”

According to the report, the only expenditure that experienced an overall decrease was education, which fell 3.5 percent.

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