WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumers swiped their credit cards more often in March after cutting back during the previous two months. The increase helped drive overall borrowing up by the most in more than a decade.
The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose $21.4 billion in March, the seventh straight monthly increase and the biggest since November 2001.
A measure of auto and student loans increased $16.2 billion. A separate gauge of mostly credit card debt rose $5.2 billion after declining in January and February.
The increase pushed total borrowing up to a seasonally adjusted $2.54 trillion. That's slightly below the all-time high of $2.58 trillion reached in July 2008, eight months after the Great Recession began. Borrowing then plunged for more than two straight years before resuming its current upward trend.