It appears as though the economic recession has sobered up America’s middle class.

In its most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey, the Labor Department found that 24,033 households in the middle fifth of all American income levels cut their average annual spending on alcohol by 20.1 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2007, middle-income households spent an average $413 on alcohol but as the recession deepened that number decreased to $330 in 2009.

Households in slightly higher income brackets, a range of $57,944 to $91,290 annually, saw spending on booze increase by 6.9 percent. Families with the lowest income cut back by 3.4 percent.

In contrast to the trend in liquor spending, the report also showed that overall spending among poor Americans rose as prices of food and rent increased. For the poor, overall spending climbed 5.6 percent from 2007 to 2009 as after-tax income dropped 5.5 percent. In many of these cases, the elderly and others struggling with their finances had to dip into savings or depend on credit to get by.

“What you’re looking at here is people at the bottom trying to hang on,” Timothy Smeeding, public affairs professor and director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin in Madison told the Wall Street Journal. “You can’t go below a certain level.”

In addition to alcohol, the middle class also cut back on clothing by 15.2 percent and eating out at restaurants by 9.5 percent. Some even cut back on groceries including milk, cream and seafood.

According to the Associated Press, data from MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse revealed that wealthy Americans’ spending habits fell sharply in June for the first time since November. The decline followed a climb in sales revenue earlier in the year. Economists believe that a decrease in wealthy Americans’ spending will cause a loss of momentum in economic recovery.

“It isn’t a good omen for the consumer recovery, which cannot exist without the luxury spender,” Mike Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers told the AP back in August.

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