US CONSUMER BORROWING UP $15.9 BILLION TO RECORD

MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers increased their borrowing in September with gains in credit card debt and auto and student loans.

The Federal Reserve says overall borrowing rose $15.9 billion following a $14 billion gain in August and a $22.8 billion July increase. The gains have pushed total consumer debt to a record level of $3.27 trillion.

The category that includes credit cards showed a $1.44 billion increase in September after having dropped by $201 million the previous month. The category that covers auto loans and student loans increased $14.48 billion after a $14.23 billion increase in August.

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Rising levels of consumer borrowing coupled with strong employment growth are viewed as good signs that consumers are confident about taking on more debt to boost purchases.

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