Growth in consumer credit slowed to a seasonally adjusted $1.47 billion in October, the government reports. Analysts say it is another sign of a weakening economy.
"That is minuscule, a very, very small increase," said economist Sandra Shaber of the Futures Group, a Washington management consulting firm. "It mostly reflects that we have a real softening in the kinds of purchases that people usually use credit for - cars, furniture, appliances."Consumers are much more leery about using credit given the business and economic environment."
The Federal Reserve said consumer credit grew at an annual rate of 2.4 percent, down from a revised 4.6 percent rate posted in September. The September rate was even slower than the 4.9 percent advance originally reported.
"Growth in revolving credit slowed in October from September," the central bank said. "Auto loans outstanding declined further in October as did loans for mobile homes."
Revolving, or credit card, debt increased $1.56 billion, or an annual rate of 8.6 percent. That was down from a 12.9 percent gain in September and a 13.3 percent advance a month earlier.
Automobile loans declined $785 million, a 3.3 percent annual rate. Auto loans, which fell 0.1 percent in September, have declined every month this year except for January and March.
Bank and credit union loans not secured by real estate rose $880 million, a 5.0 percent rate which was up slightly from 4.9 percent the previous month.
Borrowing for mobile homes fell $188 million, or a 10.0 percent rate, after declining 15.8 percent in September.