Apr 8, 2022 - Economy

Consumer debt soars to highest level in over a decade

U.S. consumer credit
Data: FactSet, Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans racked up the most monthly consumer debt in over a decade in February, amid a surge of credit card swiping.

Why it matters: It could mean climbing inflation and falling rates of savings are forcing more people to use plastic.

Driving the news: The Federal Reserve's monthly consumer credit report for February showed levels of consumer debt — not including mortgage debt — jumped by $41.8 billion, or 11.3%.

  • Revolving credit — typically credit cards — rose by a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 21%, up from 4% the prior month.
  • Nonrevolving credit, which includes auto and student loans, was up 8.4%.

The bottom line: COVID-era stimulus payments to American families are a distant memory, as is the savings cushion they briefly created. And remember, this data came before the worst of the current gasoline price spike.

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