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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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U.S. consumer borrowing jumps 10 percent in March

By Martin Crutsinger Associated Press

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers sharply increased use of their credit cards in March, pushing up total borrowing at the fastest pace in more than a decade.

The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose $29.7 billion in March, a 10 percent increase. It was the largest percentage gain since a surge of 18.4 percent in November 2001, a month when consumer borrowing surged in response to government officials urging Americans to boost spending to support the economy following the September terrorist attacks.

Total borrowing rose to a fresh record of $3.59 trillion. Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards jumped $11.1 billion, or 14.2 percent, the biggest one-month gain in this category since July 2000. Borrowing for auto and student loans rose $18.6 billion, an increase of 8.5 percent.

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