Among the many special celebrations in June is one that will be welcomed by much of the U.S. population -- especially youngsters.

It's National Candy Month. From fancy bon-bons to M&Ms and candy bars, it's time to enjoy one of the nation's favorites. In the world of candy, chocolate is the clear winner.

There are more than 1,200 firms in the U.S. making chocolate products worth almost $14.5 billion a year.

Another 466 locations make nonchocolate confections with an annual value of nearly $6 billion.

Across the country, there are more than 3,600 candy and nut stores to fill the demand for all forms of confections.

Americans consume an average of almost 24 pounds of candy a year.

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