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A recently reported rise in consumer borrowing during the fourth quarter of 2011 suggests both U.S. economic growth and risk, according to news reports.

According the Federal Reserve, consumer debt increased at a rate of 7.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011. Within that borrowing, credit card debt rose by 4.5 percent, and non-credit card debt, such as that from auto loans rose by 9 percent. While the rise in borrowing seems to indicate U.S. economic growth and consumer confidence, many people in Miami are continuing to struggle with debt.

The U.S. economy may be experiencing a growth spurt from borrowing, but as consumers are starting to borrow more, their wages are staying the same, according to news reports. And, the GDP did not grow very much at the end of the year. Both of these things hint that some people may be making purchases they cannot afford, meaning that some of these credit card purchases may not be sustainable, and some of the people who are borrowing may need help.

However, according to the Federal Reserve report, consumers were keeping up with their credit cards and making payments on time this past quarter, with credit card write-offs down from the previous year.

While various factors have recently indicated that the economic recovery is in motion to a certain degree, for some, the uptick is not enough. Those who are swimming in debt, dealing with creditor harassment and wage garnishment, or are worried about losing their home, might want to consider discussing debt relief with a bankruptcy professional.

Bankruptcy protection is not right for everyone. But, it is a good fit for many people who would like to stop creditor harassment, have debt discharged and start fresh.

Source: CBS Money Watch, “Consumer debt skyrocketed in 4th quarter,” Constantine von Hoffman, Feb. 8, 2012