Published: Nov 05, 2010 8:38 PM EDT
Updated: Nov 05, 2010 5:38 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -Consumer borrowing increased in September for the first time since January even though the category that includes credit cards dropped for a record 25th straight month.

The Federal Reserve says that consumer credit increased at an annual rate of $2.1 billion in September after having fallen at a rate of $4.9 billion in August. It was only the second increase in the past 20 months.

Americans have been reducing their borrowing for nearly two years as they try to repair their balance sheets in the wake of a steep recession and high unemployment.