As the tight economy eases and consumer spending thaws along with it, credit-card debt is climbing again — and Coloradans are among the nation's leaders — according to a report issued Monday by Trans-Union, one of the three main credit-reporting bureaus.

The average credit-card debt per American borrower jumped up to $4,996 — a 4.9 percent increase — in the third quarter of the year, and Coloradans ranked behind only Alaska for the most card debt per consumer, at $5,696, the report found.

That's down slightly from the previous quarter, when Coloradans on average carried $5,728 in credit-card debt. But, experts say, the upcoming shopping season means debt is likely to get even deeper.

"The increase in credit-card debt may reinforce the latest research from the Federal Reserve that shows bankers have eased up slightly on lending standards and demand is increasing for credit cards," said Bill Hardekopf at

The Federal Reserve recently reported that 17 percent of all banks and 26 percent of large banks reported moderately stronger demand for credit-card loans over the past three months.