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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  April 7, 2016

Consumer credit outstanding increased $17.2 billion during February (6.6% y/y) following a $14.9 billion January rise, revised from $10.5 billion. A $14.0 billion increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. 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 $14.3 billion (6.9% y/y) after a $15.1 billion rise, revised from $11.6 billion reported last month. Federal government loans (36% of the total) increased 11.6% y/y. Finance company balances (24% of the total) eased 0.3% y/y. Borrowing at depository institutions (25% of the total) increased 5.5% y/y, and borrowing at credit unions (11% of the total) advanced 14.0% y/y. Nonprofit & educational institution loans (2% of the total) declined 8.0% y/y, and nonfinancial business loans (1% of the total) remained unchanged y/y.

Revolving consumer credit in February improved $2.9 billion (5.7% y/y) after a $0.2 billion slip during January, revised from $-1.1 billion. Credit card balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) increased 8.2% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) fell 5.8% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) advanced 6.5% y/y. Nonfinancial business credit (2% of the total) fell 5.4% y/y, and securitized credit card balances (3% of the total) declined 17.0% 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.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Feb Jan Dec Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total $17.2 bil. $14.9 bil. $6.4 bil. 6.6% 6.6% 7.2% 6.0%
   Revolving 2.9 -0.2 5.0 5.7 5.2 3.9 1.4
   Nonrevolving 14.3 15.1 1.4 6.9 7.1 8.4 7.9
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