Monday, July 26, 2010

Consumer credit keeps rolling downhill.

Earlier this month the Fed released the consumer credit data for May.  Total consumer credit keeps rolling downhill with no sign of slowing down.  I've included a longer term year over year chart as well as a more recent graph showing total consumer credit outstanding.

As you can see from this longer term year over year chart a sustained decline in lending has not occurred since this data series began at the end of World War II.  This is just one example of how this recession is different than all other post WWII slowdowns.

Looking at graph #2 for a shorter time period one again sees the steady decline in consumer credit.  Compare this to the early 90's where consumer credit levelled off but did not decline. 

In my opinion until the employment numbers start to seriously improve and home prices start creeping upwards we are going to see continued declines in consumer credit and thus sluggish growth (at best) in the overall economy.

Source: Federal Reserve

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