U.S. consumer debt levels climbed by almost $45 billion in February, reaching $4.48 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s consumer credit report issued on Thursday.
That amounts to an annual seasonally adjusted increase of 11.3%, the report shows, surpassing economic expectations.
Revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 20.7%, while non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 8.4%. Open-ended revolving credit, including credit cards and lines of credit now totals over $1 trillion.
The report goes back to the 1940s.
Non-revolving credit grew by 8.4% to $3.4 trillion in February, a far greater gain than the 2.4% it grew by in January.
Inflation in the United States has continued to rise, climbing by more than 7% in January year-over-year, according to the Commerce Department.
Economists believe there are a number of reasons inflation is rising at a rate not seen for 40 years, including housing-related costs, and more recently, energy prices.
In March, the Labor Department said in its monthly Consumer Price Index that inflation rose by 7.9% in the 12 months ending in February, in what is the steepest 12-month increase since 1982.
Also in March, the three main credit bureaus in the United States, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, announced new medical debt reporting measures that are expected to remove nearly 70% of medical collections from consumer credit reports
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