Consumer credit and spending up this summer

The 12 banking regions of the U.S. Federal Reserve expanded this summer thanks in large part to surges in consumer spending.

The 12 banking regions of the U.S. Federal Reserve expanded this summer thanks in large part to surges in consumer spending, according to a report released this week by the country's central banking system.

Five of those regions - Dallas, Kansas City, Minneapolis, San Francisco and St. Louis - showed growth in late July and August, while the seven other districts marked slow or subdued growth. More importantly, the findings show a modest improvement over the previous survey, offering a slightly less dour depiction of the economy. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 80 percent of the U.S. economy.

The report, released Wednesday, came a day before the Fed announced that consumer credit expanded by $12 billion in July, up from the $11.3 billion recorded the month before and a major increase over the $6 billion projected by Bloomberg economists.

The surge in consumer borrowing likely reflects growing confidence and spending. However, if July's credit figures reflect employment trends, August's lack of many new jobs offers a grim depiction for that month's borrowing rates.