Consumer Credit in U.S. Rises More Than Forecast in October

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumer debt rose more than forecast in October as Americans carried more credit card debt, suggesting consumer spending remains steady amid the strong job market.

Total credit increased $18.9 billion from the prior month, beating the median estimate of economists, following an upwardly revised $9.6 billion gain in September, Federal Reserve data showed Friday. Revolving debt outstanding and non-revolving credit both climbed.

Key Insights

  • The rebound in total credit signals American consumers are on steady footing at the start of the fourth quarter amid a tight labor market, consistent wage gains and improving confidence.
  • Labor Department data released earlier Friday showed a strong jobs market is likely to support spending. The nation added 266,000 to nonfarm payrolls in November, topping all forecasts, as wage gains held up and unemployment matched a half-century low.
  • Revolving credit outstanding, which includes credit card debt, increased $7.9 billion after a $187 million rise the prior month and a decline in August.
  • Non-revolving debt outstanding climbed $11 billion after a $9.4 billion rise. Such debt includes loans for school and cars.

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  • Credit expanded at an annual rate of 5.5% in October after growing 2.8% the month prior.
  • Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had projected the credit gauge would rise by $16 billion.
  • Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, climbed $3.5 billion before seasonal adjustment.
  • The consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home mortgages.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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