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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Increases
by Tom Moeller  March 7, 2016

Consumer credit outstanding increased $10.5 billion during January (6.5% y/y) following a $6.4 billion December rise, revised from $21.3 billion. Action Economics Forecast Survey participants looked for a $17.0 billion January increase. During the last ten years, there has been a 46% correlation between the y/y growth in consumer credit and y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Nonrevolving credit borrowing grew $11.6 billion (6.9% y/y) after a $0.9 billion increase, changed from $15.4 billion reported last month. Federal government loans (36% of that total) increased 11.9% y/y. Finance company balances (24% of the total) edged 0.2% higher. Borrowing at depository institutions (25% of the total) increased 4.7% y/y, and borrowing at credit unions (11% of the total) advanced 14.9% y/y. Nonprofit & educational institution loans (2% of the total) declined 11.9% y/y, and nonfinancial business loans (1% of the total) remained unchanged y/y.

Revolving consumer credit in January fell $1.1 billion (+5.3% y/y) following a little-revised $5.5 billion gain. Credit card balances at depository institutions (84% of this total) increased 7.6% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) fell 6.3% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) advanced 6.0% y/y. Nonfinancial business credit (2% of the total) fell 5.4% y/y, and securitized credit card balances (3% of the total) declined 18.0% y/y.

These Federal Reserve Board figures are break-adjusted and calculated by Haver Analytics. There is a break in the credit outstanding data from November 2010 to December 2010 due to the Fed's benchmarking process. Benchmark estimates are based on the Census of Finance Companies (CFC) and the Survey of Finance Companies (SFC) conducted in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

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

What's Up with Wage Growth? from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is available here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total $10.5 bil. $6.4 bil. $14.1bil. 6.5% 6.5% 7.0% 6.0%
   Revolving -1.1 5.5 6.4 5.3 5.2 3.7 1.4
   Nonrevolving 11.6 0.9 7.7 6.9 7.0 8.3 7.9
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