Revolving consumer credit falls, but overall numbers are up

Consumer debt statistics shift The official Federal Reserve statistics for the month of April were released on Monday, showing that, while different types of consumer credit changed in different ways, the overall amount of available credit increased slightly over its April 2009 totals.

Non-revolving credit, including student loans, car loans and other closed-ended credit lines shot up by 7.1 percent in April 2010. By contrast, the report showed the revolving credit – mostly contained in credit cards and other types of re-usable credit – plummeted by a full 12 percent.

The overall gain mirrors recent positive indications that the economy is slowly recovering from the recent recession, but the volatile nature of consumer credit in the U.S. might mean that the recovery could be a lengthy and drawn-out process.

The positive news about consumer credit follows hard on the heels of similarly encouraging information about employment, as the Department of Labor recently announced that the nation’s unemployment rate had dropped to 9.7 from 9.9 percent. However, this was tempered slightly by the fact that much of the gain in jobs was concentrated in temporary Census workers.