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In Debt We Trust for U.S. Consumers With $12.7 Trillion Burden

  • Record American household debt exceeds size of Chinese GDP
  • Net worth at all-time high skewed toward wealthy: economist

After deleveraging in the aftermath of the last U.S. recession, Americans have once again taken on record debt loads that risk holding back the world’s largest economy.

Household debt outstanding -- everything from mortgages to credit cards to car loans -- reached $12.7 trillion in the first quarter, surpassing the previous peak in 2008 before the effects of the housing market collapse took its toll, Federal Reserve Bank of New York data show. To put the borrowing in perspective, it’s more than the size of China’s economy or almost four times that of Germany’s.