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Expand chart
Data: Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. businesses now have more debt than American households, according to data released by the Fed on Thursday.

Why it matters: It’s the first time corporate borrowing levels has clipped that of households in 28 years and "a potential warning sign for the economy as corporate investment softens," Bloomberg reports.

  • Lower-for-longer interest rates have fueled a borrowing frenzy, and Fed officials have warned about potential risks high corporate debt levels could pose to the record-long economic expansion.

Between the lines: Businesses investment "has historically climbed when borrowing rose."

  • But companies have pulled back on investing in things like new buildings and factories — which fuel economic growth — with CEOs citing trade war uncertainty and worries about a global growth slowdown as the reason.
  • Bloomberg notes companies in some cases used borrowed cash to finance buybacks and dividends.

Go deeper: The states having the most trouble with credit card debt

Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.

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