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US consumer debt rises to 6-year high

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NEW YORK — Consumer debt rose last quarter by the most in more than six years as Americans borrowed to buy homes and cars and to pay for education, according to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Household debt increased 2.1 percent, or $241 billion, to $11.52 trillion, the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2007, the report showed. The level of debt last quarter was $180 billion higher than a year earlier.

‘‘After a long period of deleveraging, households are borrowing again,’’ Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president and economist at the New York Fed, said in a statement.

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