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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Surges
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2018

Consumer credit outstanding strengthened $27.96 billion (5.3% y/y) during November after a little-revised $20.53 billion October rise. It was the strongest increase since November 2001. An $18.0 billion gain had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the past ten years, there has been a 51% correlation between the y/y growth in consumer credit and y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Nonrevolving credit usage jumped $16.75 billion (5.2% y/y), the largest increase since August of 2016. Federal government borrowing (38% of the total) rose 9.3% y/y. Finance company balances (22% of the total) fell 2.1% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 3.4% y/y and credit union loans (12% of the total) strengthened 11.4% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances jumped $11.19 billion (5.7% y/y), the strongest rise in twelve months. Balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) increased 7.7% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) declined by roughly one half y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) advanced 9.2% 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.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total $27.96 bil. $20.53 bil. $17.83 bil. 5.3% 6.7% 7.1% 7.2%
   Nonrevolving 16.75 12.24 12.11 5.2 6.7 7.7 8.4
   Revolving 11.19 8.30 5.70 5.7 6.6 5.4 4.0
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