U.S. small businesses took out fewer loans last month but borrowing was up from a year ago as firms ramped up investments in their operations, according to data released on Tuesday.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index fell to 119.2 last month from 122.4 in January. Still, the index was up 7 percent from February 2014, signaling a steadily improving sector.
The index gauges borrowing by firms with $1 million or less in outstanding debt.
An increase of 1 percent to 2 percent indicates businesses are borrowing to replace worn out assets, PayNet founder and President Bill Phelan said.