(NEW YORK) — Consumers cut back on their use of plastic to buy stuff in April and that has got economists worried.
While Americans did increase borrowing by $6.5 billion that month, due largely to auto and student loan costs, the Federal Reserve said it only represented half the gain from March.
The concern now is that consumers don’t see employers in a rush to make big hires so they’re less inclined to borrow — a factor that could further slow down the already tepid economic recovery.
When hiring picks up, as it had during late 2011 and the early part of this year, people will use their credit cards more often because they’re less fearful of taking on more debt. Less borrowing mean more anxiety about the economy.
Even though most economists don’t anticipate another recession, consumers are unlikely to use their credit cards as much as they had during the peak housing boom that ended in 2007.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Cristina Alesci Seth Fiegerman and Charles Riley, CNN
Brian Stelter, CNN Newswire
Brian Stelter, CNN Money
Susie East, CNN