News & Resources

Credit card debt outstanding may be down for the wrong reasons

Oct 19, 2011 Philip Burgess

United States consumers acquired less credit card debt and paid-off due account during August which led to a net credit card debt outstanding loss, insideArm reports. According to the Federal Reserve, member banks had a 3.4 annualized decline in card balances during August. From September of 2008 to August of 2011, total credit outstanding dropped from $972 billion to $790 billion – approximately a 19 percent decrease. While it is good news that Americans are paying off their debt, it may be for the wrong reasons. With the unemployment rate standing at 9.1 percent and job growth remaining stagnant across the country, many consumers may be unable to make purchases because they don't have the funds to do so. According to Bloomberg, consumer spending in the United States slowed down during August in part because average incomes dropped for the first time in nearly two years. "Consumers right now have extremely low confidence," Carl Riccadonna, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, said in a statement. "They have a sour assessment of economic conditions and they are facing a lot of uncertainty about future earnings and employment prospects, and because of that there is a degree of hesitancy with respect to big ticket purchases."