“Consumer borrowing rose $16.2 billion in January from December to a total of $2.8 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. That’s the highest level on record.
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 Social Security taxes rose and lowered take-home pay for most workers. A measure of credit card debt grew only $106.1 million after a $3.2 billion drop in December.
Credit card debt remains 17.2 percent below the peak set in June 2008. Analysts suspect consumers will stay cautious with their plastic this year, largely because of the tax increase.
The tax increase will leave a person earning $50,000 with about $1,000 less to spend in 2013. A household with two high-paid workers will have up to $4,500 less.