U.S. consumer borrowing rose by a strong $25.8 billion in March, the second-straight month of sizable gains and a further indication that the economic recovery is gaining steam.
The March gain reported Friday by the Federal Reserve followed an even larger $26.1 billion consumer-borrowing rise in February. The two monthly increases were the biggest monthly gains since a $26.8 billion increase in December 2019, before the pandemic hit.
The March borrowing advance reflected a $6.4 billion increase in the category that includes credit cards and a $19.4 billion rise in the category that covers auto loans and student loans.
Consumer borrowing is watched closely for signals it can send about households’ willingness to borrow to finance their spending. Consumer spending accounts for two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.