Archive for Saturday, November 8, 2003

Consumer debt reaches eight-month high

November 8, 2003


— Consumers ratcheted up their borrowing in September by the largest amount since the beginning of the year amid signs that the economy and the job market were picking up.

The Federal Reserve reported Friday that consumers increased their borrowing by a seasonally adjusted $15.1 billion, or at a sizable annual rate of 9.7 percent, from August to September. That pushed up total consumer debt to $1.97 trillion.

Consumers' appetite for borrowing in September was considerably stronger than the $8.8 billion increase seen in August, a 5.5 percent growth rate, from the previous month.

The rise in borrowing in September marked the largest monthly increase since January, when consumers racked up $19.6 billion in debt.

The strength in consumer borrowing seen in September was led by an increase in demand for nonrevolving credit, which includes loans for new cars and education. That borrowing rose by $12.1 billion in September from August, a 12.5 percent growth rate.

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