Consumer borrowing in March saw largest increase in more than a year

Consumer borrowing hit a record high of $3.14 trillion in March

Consumers increased their borrowing in March by the largest amount in more than a year in a sign of increased economic growth this spring.

Outstanding consumer credit, which includes credit card balances and auto and student loans, jumped $17.5 billion in March from the previous month to a record $3.14 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

The figure was a major uptick from February's increase, which was revised sharply downward to $13 billion from an initial estimate of $16.5 billion.

Economists were expecting consumer credit to rise $15.1 billion in March. The $17.5-billion increase was the most since February 2013.

So-called revolving credit, which is largely credit card debt, rebounded in March to a $1.6-billion increase after dropping a revised $3.8 billion in February.

Nonrevolving credit, such as auto loans and student loans, climbed $8.7 billion in March. It had risen $8.4 billion the previous month.

Consumer credit declined from 2009 through mid-2010 as Americans dealt with the Great Recession and its aftermath. But overall outstanding credit has been rising fairly steadily since then.

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