Record Consumer Borrowing Adds to Evidence of Economic Strength

Image: Loan company signs in Gallup, N.M.
Loan company signs in Gallup, N.M.Leo York / for NBC News

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- U.S. consumer borrowing climbed to a fresh record in July, the latest evidence that the U.S. economy should grow at a healthy pace in the second half of this year.

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing rose by $19.1 billion in July, pushing the total to a record $3.45 trillion.

This followed an even larger $27.1 billion increase in June, the biggest one-month gain in credit since November 2001. The June increase was revised up significantly from an initial estimate of $20.7 billion.

Home-Equity Lending Increases, But Mainly for Affluent Homeowners

Economists believe strong job gains will support increased borrowing and consumer spending, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of economic activity.

In July, borrowing in the category that includes auto and student loans rose $14.8 billion while the category for consumer card debt increased $4.3 billion.