While we were busy focusing on doing something that makes sense given the lessons of the recession and pay off our credit card debt, that has caused a bit of a worry for the economy. Namely, U.S. consumer credit is down for the first time in a year partly because we’ve been trying to reduce credit card debt.
Credit dropped by $3.28 billion in July, according to the Federal Reserve. A stark difference to the $9.1 billion uptick Wall Street economists had predicted in a Reuters poll. This slowdown could cause the Fed to hook up the cash IV and feed the economy some much-needed nutrition as soon as this week, notes Reuters.
And the more we worry about the economy, the less we want to ignore scary things like credit card debt, which could continue the trend of falling credit. It could also cause lenders to hesitate when choosing to give out loans or not.
“It may be the case that consumers and lenders were becoming more tentative over the summer,” analysts at Credit Suisse said in a report.
We’d been on an expanding trend since mid-2010 as consumers finally started to get out and spend again after the recession, with only minor bumps in the road. The last time credit fell was August 2011.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, consumer spending makes the world go round. But if we’re all worried about paying down the debt we already have, it’s not the easiest thing to go out and spend like crazy again.