Americans unexpectedly increased borrowing in March, but their credit-card use fell an 18th straight month as unemployment remained high, according to a Dow Jones report.

Consumer credit outstanding rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.0%, up $1.95 billion to $2.451 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Friday.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a $4.0 billion drop in consumer credit for March.

February consumer credit was adjusted upward. It fell 3.3%, or $6.21 billion, instead of the originally reported decline of 5.6%.

The consumer credit report doesn't include numbers on home mortgages and other real estate-secured loans, but the data are valuable because of the insight given into U.S. borrowing habits. Consumer spending is a big part of the U.S. economy.

Revolving credit, or credit-card use, dropped $3.19 billion, or 4.5%, in March to $852.58 billion, Friday's consumer credit data showed. The last increase came in September 2008.

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