ECONOMY

Consumer borrowing grows by $17.7 billion in July

American consumers increased their borrowing in July, though the category that includes credit cards grew at the slowest pace since February.

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose by $17.7 billion in July, up from a $14.5 billion increase in June.

Revolving credit, which covers credit cards, rose by $2.8 billion, down from $9.2 billion in June and least since February's $2.2 billion. The category that includes auto and student loans increased by $14.9 billion.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity and was one of the few sources of strength in the first quarter, when the economy expanded at a lackluster 1.1 percent annual pace.

Consumers have been encouraged by a solid labor market. Employers have added 204,000 jobs a month over the past year.