WASHINGTON (AP) — Borrowing by Americans fell in January for the first time in five months, as a big drop in the use of credit cards offset increases in auto loans and student loans.
The Federal Reserve reported Friday that consumer borrowing fell by $1.3 billion in January, the first setback since a $9 billion decline in August.
The weakness came from a $9.9 billion decline in borrowing in the category that covers credit cards. It marked the fourth straight decline in that category and was the biggest drop since a $10.8 billion fall in August.
The category that covers auto and student loans posted an $8.6 billion increase in the first month of 2021, following an even bigger gain of $11.6 billion in December.
Consumer borrowing is closely watched for indications about Americans' willingness to take on more debt to finance their spending, which accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
Since the pandemic hit a year ago, millions have lost their jobs and households have grown more cautious, boosting their savings levels as a hedge against economic uncertainty.
In a separate report, the government said Friday that U.S. employers added 379,000 jobs in February, the most since October. The increase was viewed as a hopeful sign that as virus cases drop, restaurants and other hard-hit businesses are stepping up their hiring.
The drop in borrowing in January meant total consumer credit in the Fed report dipped by 0.4% to $4.18 trillion. The Fed's monthly report does not cover home mortgages or any other loans backed by real estate such as home equity loans.
Featured Article: Day Trading - Risk Worth the Reward? 7 Cloud Computing Stocks to Lift Your Portfolio to New Heights
Cloud computing sounds complicated, and it has become more sophisticated as it evolves. However, the basic idea behind the cloud is the same. The “cloud” is a euphemistic term for the delivery of different services via the internet. In its early days, the cloud was used exclusively for data storage. Here’s an easy example of why this was important.
Back when the internet was cutting its teeth, I worked in marketing communications. The need to comply with Total Quality Control Systems (TQCS) for our largest clients meant we had to save every version of our files. Every. Single. One.
Now imagine that you’re producing a 120-page product catalog complete with photos and charts. Your hard drive is burning up just thinking about it. Yet that “data” had to be stored somewhere. And so we had a virtual server farm to try to warehouse all these graphic intensive (and memory sucking) files until we could archive them.
Other than the storage nightmare, consider that it was a pain to work remotely. You could copy a file from the server, but then were you working on the right file? I’m sure at least one person is reading this who remembers this pain.
The cloud takes that away. Cloud computing allows you to store files on a secure, remote server that everyone can access anywhere they have an internet connection. But it’s become so much more than that. Cloud computing now gives businesses a platform from which they can create applications and software. If that sounds confusing, I hope to simplify it in this presentation.
To help you understand which cloud computing stocks, you may want to add to your portfolio, and we’ve created this special presentation. These are seven of the cloud computing stocks that will continue to grow with the sector.
View the "7 Cloud Computing Stocks to Lift Your Portfolio to New Heights"