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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Accelerates
by Tom Moeller  December 6, 2019

Consumer Credit Outstanding increased $18.90 billion (4.8% y/y during October following a $9.60 billion September gain, revised from $9.52 billion. It was the strongest rise in three months. A $15.8 billion increase had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage increased $11.00 billion (5.1% y/y) during October after a $9.40 billion September rise. Borrowing by the federal government, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, rose a steady 7.3% y/y. Depository institutions lending (25% of credit) gained an accelerated 7.0% y/y. It was the strongest y/y advance since December 2016 and roughly double the pace late in 2017. Meanwhile, finance company balances rose a steady 0.7% y/y following declines from 2015 to 2018. Credit union loans continued the slowdown which began late last year and rose 3.2% y/y, after 13.0% growth during 2018.

Revolving credit usage posted a $7.90 billion increase (3.8% y/y) after a $0.20 billion September rise. Credit provided by banks, which makes up 90% of revolving balances, rose a reduced 3.9% y/y. It was growing at a 7.5% y/y pace during the summer of last year. Borrowing from credit unions (6% of the issuance) increased a reduced 6.9% y/y. Borrowing from finance companies fell 0.8% y/y.

These Federal Reserve Board figures are break-adjusted and calculated by Haver Analytics. The breaks in the series in 2005, 2010 and 2015 are the result of the incorporation of the Census and Survey of Finance Companies, as well as changes in the seasonal adjustment methodology.

The consumer credit data are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are contained in the AS1REPNA database.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Oct Sep Aug Oct y/y 2018 2017 2016
Total $18.90 bil. $9.60 bil. $14.86 bil. 4.8% 4.8% 5.1% 6.8%
   Nonrevolving 11.00 9.40 14.57 5.1 5.4 4.9 6.9
   Revolving 7.90 0.20 0.29 3.8 3.1 5.6 6.
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