U.S. consumers sharply increased use of their credit cards in March, pushing up total borrowing at the fastest pace in more than a decade.
The Federal Reserve reported Friday that total consumer borrowing rose $29.7 billion in March, a 10 percent jump from the previous month. It was the largest percentage gain since a surge of 18.4 percent in November 2001, when consumer borrowing surged in response to government officials urging Americans to boost spending to support the economy following the September terrorist attacks.
Total borrowing rose to a fresh record of $3.59 trillion. Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards jumped $11.1 billion, or 14.2 percent, the biggest one-month gain in this category since July 2000. Borrowing for auto and student loans rose $18.6 billion, up 8.5 percent.
The overall increase of $29.7 billion tied the dollar rise in November 2001. Both are the largest dollar rises on record.
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