WASHINGTON – American consumers increased their borrowing by $20.5 billion in October. It was the biggest gain in 11 months and reflected strong increases in the use of credit cards and in auto and student loans.
The October followed a $19.2 billion gain in September and was the best showing since borrowing rose by $24.5 billion in November 2016.
The category that covers auto loans and student loans was up $12.2 billion, slightly slower than the $13.2 billion rise in September but still a solid performance. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards rose by $8.3 billion, up from a $6 billion increase in September and the strongest showing since November.
The solid gains were good signs for strength in consumer spending heading into the holiday shopping season.