May 29, 2023


US consumers are starting to feel that credit is getting harder to come by, according to survey results released Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Consumer perceptions of credit access and availability declined in March, with the share of respondents reporting it’s harder to obtain credit than one year ago climbing to the highest since the New York Fed started conducting its Survey of Consumer Expectations in 2013.

In March, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank roiled the banking sector, escalating fears of a credit crisis. While action taken by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department appears to have allayed concerns of further collapses, economists anticipate that a further tightening of credit standards may follow, further pressuring businesses and consumers in this environment of high interest rates and moderating inflation.

For the first time since October, US consumers’ year-ahead inflation expectations increased. Near-term inflation expectations increased 0.52 percentage points to 4.7%, according to the New York Fed’s March 2023 Survey of Consumer Expectations. It’s the largest jump in one-year inflation expectations since March of last year.

Consumers’ uncertainty about future inflation outcomes also increased for the one-year horizon.

However, longer-term inflation expectations decreased when looking three and five years out, according to the report.

The Fed closely watches measurements of inflation expectations. If those expectations are higher, the concern is that it could lead to more workers bargaining for higher wages to counteract losses in purchasing power and businesses passing along higher expenses in the form of price increases.

Looking beyond inflation, consumers’ expectations of higher unemployment increased by 1.3 percentage point to 40.7%, driven by consumers between the ages of 40 and 60 years old and those with household incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.

Still, the mean perceived probability of losing a job declined, and fewer people anticipated they would leave their job.


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