This photo Feb. 20, 2019, photo shows logos for credit cards in Zelienople, Pa. On Monday, July 8, the Federal Reserve releases its May report on consumer borrowing. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

US consumers step up borrowing at healthy pace in May

July 08, 2019 - 3:13 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers borrowed more on their credit cards in May and also took out more student and auto loans, a modest sign of economic health.

The Federal Reserve says that consumer borrowing increased 5% that month, just below April's 5.2% rise. Total outstanding consumer debt, which excludes mortgages, stood at nearly $4.1 trillion in May.

Steady increases in consumer borrowing echo other recent data showing that consumers remain confident in the economy and willing to spend. Retail sales rose for the third straight month in May. Consumer confidence, as measured by the Conference Board, a business research group, is at historically high levels, though it slipped in June.

Consumer credit is monitored by many economists because consumer spending powers about two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

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