U.S. consumer credit card debt is declining, but non-revolving debt is up.
The Federal Reserve reports U.S. consumers’ credit card balances are declining, but consumer spending trends indicate Americans are willing to buy big-ticket items on non-revolving credit.
From the first Federal Reserve report in October, consumers’ revolving credit fell by a seasonally adjusted $883.4 million in August, which translates to a 1.25% annual rate. That follows the consumer spending trend which shows revolving balances have declined by more than $6 billion from June to August.
Those numbers are offset by statistics that show non-revolving debt, which occurs when buying automobiles, student loans and big ticket items such as furniture and appliances, increased by $14.51 billion in August, which translates to an 8.0% annual rate.
Putting those two numbers together, consumer debt outside of home loans advanced by $13.63 billion in August.
All of these numbers were from August, and came out before the government shutdown. Numbers for September are expected to reflect the government budgetary problems, and consumer spending is expected to be down.
“Consumers have the ability and need to replace big-ticket items, but it’s also really easy to postpone those purchases for a couple of months if they get nervous,’’ Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association, told the Wall Street Journal.
The National Retail Federation reports expectations for a marginal increase of 3.9 percent in consume spending in November and December of 2013 over a similar period in 2012. The NRF noted that there is an increased appetite for big-ticket spending but everything is dependent on the government reopening in a timely fashion.
"Overall, retailers are optimistic for the 2013 holiday season,'' said NRF CEO Matthew Shay. The overall consumer spending trends for the year showed 3.2 percent of growth from August 2012 to August 2013, although personal incomes rose just 2.8 percent over the same time.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.