Consumer borrowing monthly gains highest in a decade

Non-revolving debt, which includes auto loans, also experienced a large jump, increasing by $14.8 billion, the largest gain since February 2005. 

Still, as consumers vow to keep their credit cards close by, they also are vowing to lower their debt and save more money. 

Savings hit a 10-year high of 8.3 percent in May 2008, during the peak of the recession, gradually dropping to 3.5 percent by November, the lowest rate since the 2.6 percent recorded in December 2007 when the recession started, according to the Federal Reserve.

During most of 2005, consumers saved less than 2 percent, hitting a low of 1 percent in April, the lowest level since records were kept in 1959. 

Employers added 200,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest rate in three years, the Labor Department reported Friday. 

The economy needs to continue churning out jobs for the more than 13 million unemployed to fuel the higher confidence and spending levels needed to sustain the recovery. 

Analysts argue that the high levels of unemployment and underemployment are the biggest drag on consumer spending. 

More jobs and higher wages are needed to increase consumer spending, which economists argue will spur more hiring and spending and accelerate the economic recovery. 

The Federal Reserve's borrowing report excludes mortgages, home equity loans and other real estate loans.

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