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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.

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.