On September 9, 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its annual data on consumer expenditures for 2013. 

The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) is important, because it is the only Federal survey to provide information on the complete range of consumers' expenditures and incomes, as well as the characteristics of those consumers.  

It is used by:

  • economic policymakers examining the impact of policy changes on economic groups 
  • the Census Bureau as the source of thresholds for the Supplemental Poverty Measure
  • businesses and academic researchers studying consumers' spending habits and trends
  • other Federal agencies for planning and analysis, and
  • perhaps most importantly, to regularly revise the Consumer Price Index (CPI) market basket of goods and services and their relative importance.

The CE data program consists of two surveys, the Quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey.  These surveys provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics.  These data include human capital expenditures on education and reading materials.

The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.  When issued, news releases are available on the BLS Home page.  For the previous news release, see Consumer Expenditures in 2012.