WASHINGTON — Consumer borrowing fell again in July as households cut back on their credit card use for a 23rd consecutive month, adding more drag on an economy struggling to mount a sustained rebound.

Borrowing dropped at an annual rate of $3.6 billion in July, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday. Americans did boost borrowing for auto loans, but that gain was offset by further reductions in the category that includes credit cards.

The July decrease represented a 1.8 percent decline in percentage terms and followed a 0.5 percent drop in June.

Borrowing in the category that includes auto loans rose 0.6 percent in July after gains of 3.2 percent in June and 1.2 percent in May. The three monthly increases reflected a revival of auto sales this summer after automakers endured slumping sales during the recession.

Borrowing on credit cards fell by 6.3 percent in July after a bigger 7.5 percent June decline. This category has now fallen for a record 23 consecutive months as Americans have struggled to repair their household finances after the worst recession since the 1930s.

Households are borrowing less and saving more, and that has acted as a drag on the overall economy by lowering consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of total economic activity.

Economists expect households will continue to cut back on borrowing as long as incomes and employment don’t show significant improvements.