WASHINGTON — Americans took out $4.02 billion more in consumer debt than they paid off in November, the lowest monthly increase since August, the government reported Friday.
The Federal Reserve Board said the November gain translated into an annual rate of consumer debt growth of 8.2%, a considerable slowdown from the 14.8% rate of increase in October.
In both September and October, consumer debt soared as Americans borrowed heavily in response to attractive cut-rate financing deals offered by auto makers seeking to reduce 1986 inventories.
Total debt rose by $7.21 billion in October and $7.72 billion in September, with the increase in outstanding auto loans coming to $4.27 billion in October and $7.47 billion in September. By contrast, auto loans rose by a much smaller $844 million in November.