Consumer credit increased in September thanks largely to student loan growth but Americans appeared to use their credit cards more sparingly, according to Federal Reserve data released Wednesday.
Consumer credit grew $11.36 billion during the month. It has expanded almost continuously since mid-2010 as the country recovered from the 2007-09 recession, and the recent lift could boost economic growth by helping consumers spend more on cars and education.
Credit growth was just above the median forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts, although it was lower than the $18.39 billion in growth registered in August, according to revised figures.
So far this year, overall consumer credit has expanded in eight of nine months.
While overall credit rose, it reflected a contraction in revolving credit, 98% of which includes credit card use. That category dropped $2.90 billion in September, marking the third drop in four months for revolving credit. Growth in revolving credit has been choppier than overall consumer lending.
Nonrevolving credit, which includes student and auto loans, rose $14.27 billion in September. Student loans made by the government rose 27.9 percent in the 12 months through September, slightly less than the 12-month growth posted through August.