Economy Watch: Consumer Credit Still Growing; Job Openings Edge Up
- Jul 09, 2014
U.S. consumer credit rose at an annualized 7.4 percent in May, according to the Federal Reserve on Tuesday. That’s a sizable increase, but not as much as in April, when the annualized increase was 10 percent. Revolving credit – mainly plastic – was up at an annualized 2.5 percent in May, while nonrevolving credit rose at an annualized rate of 9.3 percent (including student and car loans, but not mortgages).
Banks and their ilk remained the largest creditors in the nation, noted the Fed, holding a total of $1.272 trillion in consumer debt, not counting real estate-associated debt. The second largest creditor in the country is the country itself, with the U.S. government holding $780.1 billion in debt, up tremendously from only five years ago, when the total was $223.1 billion.
One kind of debt that hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels is pools of securitized assets. They totaled $441.9 billion in 2009, but now they total only $28.5 billion.
Job Openings Edge Up
There were 4.6 million U.S. job openings on the last business day of May, up from 4.5 million in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday in its Job Openings and Turnover Survey (the memorably named JOLTS). The number of job openings increased for nondurable manufacturing and for healthcare and social assistance in May, while it decreased in retail trade and in arts, entertainment, and recreation.
There were 4.5 million total separations in May, not much changed from April, the BLS also reported. The number of total separations was unchanged for both private employers and in government. By the BLS’ reckoning, separations include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover.
Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee, meaning that the quits rate is an indirect measure of the health of the employment market, since it’s a measurement of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Quits haven’t changed much overall, but the number of quits has increased year over year in wholesale trade, retail trade, and in accommodation and food services, while decreasing in finance and insurance.
Wall Street continued its retreat from pre-Independence Day record highs on Tuesday, ahead of a wave of possibly worrisome earnings reports, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 117.59 points, or 0.69 percent. The S&P 500 was off 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq declined 1.35 percent.