WASHINGTON – Consumers stepped up their borrowing in February as a rebound in the use of credit cards offset a slowdown in borrowing on autos and student loans.
The Federal Reserve says that total borrowing rose $15.2 billion in February, the biggest gain in three months and an acceleration from January's increase of $10.9 billion.
The improvement came in the category that covers credit cards, where borrowing rose $2.9 billion after falling in January. Borrowing for auto loans and student loans increased by a sizable $12.3 billion in February, though it was lower than in January.
Consumer borrowing is closely watched for signs of consumers' willingness to take on more debt to support their spending. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.