U.S. residents may be saddled with too much credit card debt, but the way they are spending money today, you wouldn’t know it.
According to recent financial reports, outstanding U.S. consumer credit rose by $20.37 billion during November of 2011. That’s the biggest gain in a month since way back in November of 2001, according to a Reuters story.
The Federal Reserve reports that revolving credit, which mostly measures consumers’ credit-card use, rose $5.6 billion in November. This marks the third consecutive month in which revolving credit rose.
Reuters quotes an economist who says that credit growth is a positive sign for the economy. This potentially makes sense. Consumers spend more when they are more confident. They are more confident when they feel that the economy is improving.
And the U.S. economy depends upon confident consumers. When consumers spend more, the nation’s economy thrives. When they’re too nervous to open their wallets, the U.S. economy suffers, as it has in recent years.
The credit numbers are the second bit of possible good news that the U.S. economy has recently received. The country’s unemployment rate recently fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest that figure has been at in three years.
Unfortunately, the economy isn’t robust yet. There is still a long way to go before a full recovery. But the news regarding credit-card use and unemployment could mean that we are in the midst of a steady, if slow, recovery.
It is important to note, however, that there is a danger that comes with credit card use. Hopefully, consumers are not relying more heavily on credit in irresponsible ways or out of desperation. It will take future research on debt levels to verify whether the recent credit trend is positive or a step backwards.
Reuters: “Consumer credit surges by most since 2001,” Jason Lange, Jan. 9, 2012