[Excerpt] Consumer spending increased for the first time in three years based on 2011 data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE). Consumer units’ (CUs) average annual expenditures increased from $48,109 in 2010 to $49,705 in 2011. This 3.3-percent rise followed a 4.8-percent drop from 2008 to 2010. Even with the increase, spending is still below the 2008 level of $50,486. The rise in expenditures in 2011 was due in part to a rise in incomes from 2010 to 2011 and the effect of inflation on prices paid by consumers. Average annual income before taxes increased 1.9 percent from $62,481 in 2010 to $63,685 in 2011. The average 2011 income was just $122 higher than the average income in 2008. Prices, as measured by the average annual change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U, U.S. city average, all items) rose by 3.2 percent in 2011, just below the 3.3-percent increase in spending. In 2010, prices increased by just 1.6 percent. The remainder of this report highlights consumer spending patterns for 2011 from the CE.