Ka-Ching! US Consumer Borrowing at Highest Level Ever
Americans stepped up borrowing in January to buy cars and attend school, while staying cautious about using their credit cards.
The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose $16.15 billion in January from December to a total of $2.8 trillion. That's the highest level on record.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected a $14.5-billion increase.
A category that covers student loans and auto loans grew $16 billion following an $18.3-billion gain in December.
Consumers barely increased credit-card debt in January, when higher Social Security taxes lowered take-home pay for most workers.
A measure of credi- card debt rose only $106.1 million. That followed a $3.2 billion drop in December. Credit- card debt remains 17.2 percent below the peak set in June 2008.