Household investment is up

Consumer borrowing is back -- or is it?

The Federal Reserve reports that consumer borrowing rose at an annual rate of 8.5 percent in January. Yes, consumer borrowing is up. Here's the thing: Revolving credit -- essentially credit card debt -- fell at a 4.5 percent annual rate. So-called nonrevolving credit increased at an annual rate of 14.75 percent. What's nonrevolving credit? Mostly student loans and auto loans.

Put somewhat differently, household investment is up as people spend more on education and cars. The credit card isn't being whipped out as often, though.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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