| February 8, 2011

Consumers increase credit card debt in December

Americans increased their credit card use in December, marking the third straight month they have increased their overall debt burden.

According to recent statistics from the Federal Reserve Board, consumer debt increased $6 billion for the month, bringing the nation’s debt total to more than $2.4 trillion.

In addition, November’s consumer credit figures were revised to indicate a $2 billion increase when compared to the original estimate of a $1.3 billion climb, Marketwatch reports. Overall, credit card debt increased for the first time since August of 2008, when it hit a peak of $2.58 trillion.

“People are starting to get out, little by little, and spend,” Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas, told Bloomberg. “This is in line with consumer spending, and the overall economy, picking up.”

While the upswing in overall revolving credit use surprised many economists, the result was in line with recent releases from major lenders, all of whom saw sharp increases in consumer credit card use during the final weeks of the holiday season.

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