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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Eases
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2020

Consumer Credit Outstanding increased $12.53 billion (4.5% y/y) during November after an $18.96 billion October gain, revised from $18.90 billion. A $16.4 billion increase had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage rose $14.94 billion (5.0% y/y) in November, the strongest increase in three months. Borrowing by the federal government, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, rose a lessened 6.9% y/y. Depository institutions lending (25% of credit) gained an accelerated 7.5% y/y. It was the strongest y/y advance since November 2015. Meanwhile, finance company balances rose a steady 1.0% y/y following declines from 2015 to 2018. Credit union loans continued the slowdown which began late last year and rose 2.5% y/y, after 13.0% growth during 2018.

Revolving credit usage declined $2.43 billion (+2.9% y/y) in November after a $7.92 billion October rise. Credit provided by banks, which makes up 90% of revolving balances, rose a greatly reduced 2.9% 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 lessened 6.1% y/y. Borrowing from finance companies fell 1.3% y/y.

During Q3 2019, student loan debt outstanding rose a greatly lessened 5.0% y/y. Motor vehicle loan debt outstanding increased a steady 4.0% 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) Nov Oct Sep Nov y/y 2018 2017 2016
Total $12.53 bil. $18.96 bil. $8.93 bil. 4.5% 4.8% 5.1% 6.8%
   Nonrevolving 14.94 11.06 8.76 5.0 5.4 4.9 6.9
   Revolving -2.43 7.92 0.19 2.9 3.1 5.6 6.8
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