In a move that may be a bad sign for the economy, Americans are spending more, and raiding their savings, college and retirement accounts to do so even as they take on more credit card debt.

Reuters reported that Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans said Friday that the spike in credit card usage by households is worrisome. People, he was quoted saying, "have been spending recently in a way that did not seem in line with income growth. So somehow they've been doing that through perhaps additional credit card usage. If they saw future income and employment increasing strongly then that would be reasonable. But I don't see that. So I've been puzzled by this."

The rate of personal savings, after a few years of increased activity, has fallen back to its lowest since December 2007 at the beginning of the recession. In November, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures, it was 3.5%, down from 5.1% in November 2010. The concern is that many people finding it difficult to get by on inflation-reduced income are borrowing against their futures to meet everyday expenses.

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