WASHINGTON >> American consumers stepped up their borrowing by $18.4 billion in December, a solid performance that followed a massive gain the previous month.
The increase reflects gains of $5.1 billion in the category that covers credit cards and $13.3 billion in the category for auto and student loans, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.
The overall increase followed a $31 billion surge in November as consumers took on extra credit to finance holiday shopping.
Consumer borrowing is closely followed for indications about how confident households are in taking on more debt to finance spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. In the fourth quarter, the overall economy grew at a solid 2.6 percent rate.
The question is whether the sharp declines in the stock market last Friday and Monday could shake that confidence.
ON THE MOVE
North Hawaii Community Hospital announced that Dr. William Ryan, board-certified oncologist, has joined the hospital’s Cancer Center. He has more than 32 years of experience in the oncology field in Pennsylvania. Ryan also was a medical oncology director at the Dale and Frances Hughes Cancer Center.
The Queen’s Medical Center has named Cynthia Gaddy as the administrator of Patient Care at The Queen’s Medical Center-West Oahu. She will oversee the operations management as well as manage the Rapid Response Team, Emergency Department, Telemetry, Perioperative Services, ICU and Medical/Surgical. Gaddy previously worked at Straub Medical Center.