MGN Online

Published: Jul 08, 2014 3:26 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Consumers increased their borrowing at a slower pace in May compared to the prior month.
    
The Federal Reserve says that overall credit rose by $19.6 billion in May, down from a gain of $26.1 billion in April. The relatively modest increase should help to feed slow but steady economic growth, because consumers rely on debt to pay tuition, buy cars and shop.
    
Total outstanding consumer debt is now approaching $3.2 trillion.
    
Auto and student loans drove much of the gains in May. They increased by a combined $17.8 billion. That marks a year-over-year rise of 9.3 percent.
    
Credit card debt rose by a slight $1.8 billion in May, after having surged in April. The increase in credit card debt over the past year has been 2.5 percent.

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