We were initially very excited this afternoon when January consumer credit came in with a much bigger expansion than analysts had expected.
Then we got depressed when we looked at the internals of the report and found that most of the growth came from student loans, and that revolving consumer credit (read: credit cards) actually contracted again).
But it’s actually not horrible.
Here’s a look at year over year non-seasonally adjusted consumer credit growth.
As you can see, not only was January above 0.0% (meaning it showed growth from a year ago) it grew at a faster rate than in December, and at a faster rate than before that.
In fact, since late 2010, revolving consumer credit has improved its YOY number without fail. The improvement in the rate of change wasn’t quite as robust, but the growth rate continues to improve.
Here’s one more way of looking at it. This is a bar chart showing the year over year change since late December.
Can you find a problem with he latest month?