The numbers: Total consumer credit rose a seasonally adjusted $38.1 billion to a record $4.57 trillion in April, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday.
Economists had been expecting a $35 billion gain, according to the Wall Street Journal forecast.
That translates into a 10.1% annual rate increase in April, down from a revised 12.7% gain in the prior month.
This is the third straight month of gains in consumer borrowing above $30 billion.
Key details: Revolving credit, like credit cards, rose at a 19.6% rate in April to a record $1.1 trillion. That’s a slower pace than the 29% gain in the prior month.
Nonrevolving credit, typically auto and student loans, rose at a 7.1% rate to a record $3.5 trillion That’s down slightly from 7.6% growth rate in the prior month. This category of credit is much less volatile. It only fell briefly at the start of the pandemic before returning to steady growth.
The Fed’s data does not include mortgage loans, which is the largest category of household debt.
Big picture: Consumer borrowing has increased at a rapid pace this year and economists are still debating the causes. Some point to rising gasoline prices while others are worried it is a first sign of stress among consumers.