US consumer spending jumps in April; credit card debt rose at fastest pace since 2001

Associated Press + More

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers increased their borrowing by a sizable amount in April, with growth in credit card debt rising at the fastest pace in more than 12 years.

The Federal Reserve says that overall credit increased by $26.8 billion in April, up from a gain of $19.5 billion in March. The strong increase is a good sign for the economy, suggesting that consumers are confident enough to boost purchases by borrowing.

The result was fueled by autos and student loans, which rose by $18 billion, and credit card debt, which was up $8.8 billion. The upswing in credit card debt represented a 12.3 percent gain, the fastest pace since a similar increase in November 2001 when consumers were being urged to spend to bolster the economy following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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