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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Eases
by Tom Moeller  November 7, 2016

Consumer credit outstanding increased $19.3 billion (6.5% y/y) during September following a $26.8 billion August rise, revised from $25.9 billion. An $18.0 billion increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Over 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 led the rise, with a $15.1 billion gain (6.7% y/y) after a $21.1 billion August increase. Federal government loans (37% of the total) rose 10.9% y/y. Finance company balances (23% of the total) fell 2.0% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 5.0% y/y, and borrowing from credit unions (12% of the total) strengthened 12.9% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit increased a moderate $4.2 billion (5.9% y/y) after a $5.6 billion rise. Balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) grew 8.1% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) fell 7.3% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) advanced 7.0% y/y.

Student loans during Q3'16 increased 6.4% y/y, down from a high of 14.4% growth in 2009. Motor vehicle loans increased 6.6% y/y versus 9.0% growth in 2014.

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 Economic Outlook from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer can be found here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Sep Aug Jul Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total $19.3 bil. $26.8 bil. $17.6 bil. 6.5% 7.0% 7.2% 6.0%
   Revolving 4.2 5.6 2.8 5.9 5.2 3.9 1.4
   Nonrevolving 15.1 21.1 14.9 6.7 7.7 8.4 7.9
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