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Borrowing by U.S. consumers increased a bit in February

Staff writer |
Borrowing by U.S. consumers picked up a little in February, a sign steady job creation is helping underpin household finances.

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Outstanding consumer credit, a measure of non-real estate debt, rose by a seasonally adjusted $17.22 billion in February from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said.

Overall consumer credit, which expanded at a 5.82% seasonally adjusted annual rate in February, has grown every month for the past 4½ years.

Revolving credit outstanding, mostly credit cards, increased at a 3.74% annual pace in February compared with a 0.31% contraction in January. Revolving credit is up 11 of the past 12 months.

Nonrevolving credit outstanding, including student and auto loans, increased at a 6.57% annual pace compared with January's 6.99% growth rate.

Consumer spending, which generates the bulk of U.S. economic activity, rose only modestly in the opening months of 2016, according to Commerce Department data.

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