Business Briefs – November 7, 2017

Consumer Borrowing Up $20.8 Billion, Most in 10 Months

WASHINGTON (AP) – American consumers increased their borrowing by $20.8 billion in September. It was the largest gain in 10 months and was led by a sharp increase in borrowing for auto and student loans.

The September increase followed a gain of $13.8 billion in August and marks the largest monthly increase since a $24.5 billion jump in November 2016, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

The category that covers auto and student loans rose by $14.4 billion, nearly double the $7.6 billion gain seen in August. The category that covers credit cards increased by $6.4 billion, slightly better than the $5.5 billion August increase.

Consumer borrowing is closely watched for clues about the direction of consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic growth.

Yellen Says Public Trust in Fed Ethics Is Critical

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the Fed’s effectiveness critically depends on the nation’s confidence that the central bank is acting only in the public’s interest.

Yellen said it is important for Fed officials to “demonstrate our ethical standards in ways that leave little room for doubt.”

Yellen’s remarks came at a ceremony where she and former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke were honored with this year’s Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government, named for the late Illinois senator. Yellen and Bernanke were recognized for their efforts to increase transparency at the historically secretive Federal Reserve.

Yellen’s comments were her first public remarks since President Donald Trump announced last week that he was by-passing her and nominating Fed board member Jerome Powell as the next Fed chairman.

Twitter Doubles Character Limit To 280 for (Nearly) Everyone

NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter says it’s ending its iconic 140-character limit — and giving nearly everyone 280 characters.

Users tweeting in Chinese, Japanese and Korean will still have the original limit. That’s because writing in those languages uses fewer characters.

The company says 9 percent of tweets written in English hit the 140-character limit. Twitter hopes that the expanded limit will get more people tweeting more, helping its lackluster user growth. Twitter has been testing the new limit for weeks and is starting to roll it out Tuesday.