Quoted – Consumer pay a little more in March, inflation not yet problem

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Consumer pay a little more in March, inflation not yet problem

Prices paid by consumers in March rose slightly, a sign that inflation has not yet become a serious problem for the U.S. economy.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis last month, according to a Wednesday report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“I think the Fed should keep interest rates low,” said Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College. “I think to raise interest rates now would be a little premature.”

However, others think the Fed’s current policy on interest rates will be unsustainable in the future.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=162995

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Quoted – Consumer credit unexpectedly declines to 3-month low

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Consumer credit unexpectedly declines to 3-month low

Borrowing by U.S. consumers decreased in February, more than economists anticipated, a sign consumers are still reluctant to take on debt without continued improvement in the job market.

Consumer credit, encompassing credit card debt and non-revolving loans, decreased $11.5 billion, or 5.5 percent at an annual rate, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.  Economists polled by Bloomberg LP estimated a decrease of only $700 million.

The February measure is just another indication that consumer spending, which accounts for roughly 70 percent of economic activity, will continue to stay put until households begin to feel more optimistic about the labor market.

Scott Testa, professor of business administration at Cabrini College in Philadelphia, Pa., said that despite the encouraging news on the job front, job security is still hampering consumer spending. “People are much more frugal when they know they are going to lose their jobs, or they are already out of work,” said Testa, who pointed to the importance of credit to the success of the U.S. economy. “We are a nation of credit cards, we love buying,” said Testa. “Unfortunately that puts us in a position where we have high debt levels.”

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=162693

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