WASHINGTON – US consumers increased their loans in September, thanks to the first increase in the portfolio including credit cards in seven months.
The Federal Reserve reported that total loans rose by $ 16.2 billion in September, recovering from a $ 6.9 billion drop in August.
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The increase in credit card lending rose $ 3.98 billion, the first increase since February. Use of credit cards has declined for six consecutive months as households cut their use of credit cards after the pandemic and millions of people lost their jobs.
The portfolio including car loans and student loans grew by $ 12.2 billion in September. This category has grown steadily since falling $ 6.9 billion in April.
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Economists closely monitor consumer borrowing patterns for signals of households’ willingness to borrow to finance consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of operations. economy.
The loan increase of $ 16.2 billion in September was twice as high as what economists forecast, an encouraging sign of growing concern that consumers could begin to cut back when the Coronavirus increased again.
In a separate report Friday, the government said the economy created 638,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%. The report is seen as an encouraging sign that the expected recovery of the labor market is taking place even in the face of an increase in viral infections.
The increase in total debt pushed total consumer loans to $ 4.16 trillion in September, a modest increase of 0.6% from a year ago.
The Fed’s monthly report on consumer credit does not refer to mortgages or other real estate secured, such as home loans.
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