American consumer debt increased steadily in April as credit-card use surged. At the same time, education and vehicle debt grew at the slowest pace since July 2012. While economists typically see a pickup in consumer debt as a strong indicator of consumer confidence; however, the growth could also be a sign that money is scarce for many households and that consumer debt is the only option left on the table.
It seems like the latter explanation is a little more plausible. After all, if consumer confidence were really on the rise, why would car loans be declining. Our suspicion is that for most Oregonians, economic instability is what is really causing the spike in consumer debt. In any event, watching a ramp up in consumer debt accompanied by the near loan shark interest rates that the banks are now permitted to legally charge without any trace of shame, all I can say is that isn’t our first time at the rodeo. We know how this turns out.