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Consumer debt increases by $16 billion in November

220px-HomeDepotPinOakHoustonselfcheckoutConsumer debt increased in November as Americans took on more debt to attend school and purchase new automobiles, increasing borrowing in November by $16 billion to post a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion.

Auto loans and student loans primarily drove the increase, rising $15.2 billion in November, while credit card debt increased by just $817 million, Cleveland.com reports.

Since the recent financial downturn, Americans have limited their credit card spending. In 2008, Americans posted $1.03 trillion in credit card debt, a record high. In November, however, American credit card debt was 16.5 percent lower.

Conversely, non-revolving debt, including student loan and auto loan debt, increased 22.8 percent from July 2008, due primarily to the increase in the number of Americans who have returned to school for retraining in the event of a job loss, according to Cleveland.com.

Auto sales grew by 13.4 percent in 2012, topping 14 million sales for the first time in five years. The destruction left behind by Hurricane Sandy may have contributed to the rise in vehicle sales.

Analysts expect consumer borrowing patterns to remain the same throughout 2013, though they do expect some increases in credit card debt and larger increases in auto and student loan debt that could be attributed to lower take-home pay as a result of higher taxes.

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