07/08/2015 15:16 EDT | Updated 07/08/2016 01:12 EDT

Auto, student loans send US consumer borrowing to record high in May

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer borrowing climbed to a record high in May, propelled by a surge in auto and student loans.

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing increased $16.1 billion following a gain of $21.4 billion in April, which was the strongest monthly increase since July 2014.

The gains pushed total borrowing to a fresh record of $3.4 trillion.

In May, borrowing in the category that includes autos and student loans rose by $14.5 billion. Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards rose by $1.6 billion after an increase of $8.5 billion in April.

Economists believe that solid gains in employment should translate into stronger consumer borrowing and spending that will help lift economic growth in the second half of this year.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press