Comments on the Current Consumer Credit Report

Both James Pethokoukis and Cullen Roche made misleading comments about the growth in consumer credit after the G.19 report was released. Here is a quote from A weak recovery with a weak foundation built on credit card debt that highlights the problem.

A big leap in credit card debt in May. It surged by $8.0 billion, the biggest one month gain since November 2007.

Here is an updated graph from the Fed that shows both revolving and non-revolving credit from 2000 to the present. In the graph we can see that revolving credit(i.e. credit cards) is still depressed and growing slowly compared to non-revolving credit(i.e. auto loans). It is still down from its peak in 2008 while the non-revolving credit has already passed its 2008 peak. Using a one month change to describe a trend is misleading. Since last month’s G.19 report showed a decline in revolving credit and this month it shows a gain, I think it is a little early to make predictions on credit card debt growth.