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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Slows
by Tom Moeller  March 7, 2017

Consumer credit outstanding increased $8.8 billion (6.3% y/y) during January following a $14.7 billion December increase, earlier reported as $14.2 bil. An $18.0 billion increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the past 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 gained $12.6 billion (6.4% y/y) in January after an $11.2 billion increase. Federal government loans (38% of the total) rose 10.2% y/y. Finance company balances (22% of the total) fell 1.9% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 6.7% y/y, and credit union loans (12% of the total) strengthened 12.4% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances declined $3.8 billion (+6.0% y/y) and reversed a $3.6 billion increase. Balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) increased 6.9% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) improved 0.9% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) advanced 7.2% 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.

The 2017 Budget and Economic Outlook from the Congressional Budget Office can be found here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Jan Dec Nov Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total $8.8 bil. $14.7 bil. $25.9 bil. 6.3% 6.5% 7.0% 7.2%
   Revolving -3.8 3.6 12.9 6.0 6.5 5.2 3.9
   Nonrevolving 12.6 11.2 12.9 6.4 6.s5 7.7 8.4
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