U.S. consumer borrowing rises by most in nearly a year

Vince Golle

Household borrowing increased in August at the fastest pace in almost a year, led by a jump in loans for school and automobile purchases.

The $25.9 billion increase, or an annualized 8.5 percent, followed a revised $17.8 billion gain the prior month, Federal Reserve figures showed Friday. The median projection called for a $16.5 billion advance. Non-revolving credit, which includes car and educational loans, also posted the largest advance since September of last year.

Steady hiring and income growth may be making Americans more willing to borrow, helping to sustain consumer spending and the economic expansion.

Non-revolving credit increased $20.2 billion, while revolving debt rose $5.6 billion during the month, the Fed’s report showed.

Lending by the federal government, mostly for student loans, climbed $18.7 billion in August on an unadjusted basis as students prepared to return to school for the fall semester.

The Fed’s consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit and home mortgages.

With assistance from Chris Middleton

To contact the reporter on this story: Vince Golle in Washington at vgolle@bloomberg.net.