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Consumer credit skyrocketed in the U.S. in November

Recently, the Federal Reserve released some debt-related statistics. The statistics regard consumer credit in the United States in November of 2011. The statistics indicate that the U.S. saw a significant increase in consumer credit in November of 2011.

According to these statistics, the total amount of credit consumers in the U.S. held went up by $20.37 billion in November. This far eclipses previous monthly increases in consumer credit that the U.S. saw in 2011. In fact, according to an article on Reuters' website, the increase in consumer credit in November is the largest monthly increase in consumer credit that the U.S. has experienced in 10 years.

The statistics indicate that both non-revolving credit (a credit category which includes things like auto loans and student loans) and revolving credit (a credit category which includes things like credit card debt) went up in November. Reportedly, in November, non-revolving credit increased by $14.78 billion while revolving credit went up by $5.6 billion.

These statistics from the Federal Reserve give rise to some questions. What was behind this major increase in consumer credit in the U.S. in November of 2011? Does this increase indicate that consumers are feeling more confident about their finances? Or does it indicate something less optimistic, such as that poor conditions in the employment market have pushed consumers to rely more heavily on debt to pay expenses? Will we see additional large increases in consumer credit in future months? One wonders what the answers to these important questions will ultimately turn out to be.

Source: Reuters, "Consumer credit surges by most since 2001," Jason Lange, Jan. 9, 2012

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