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U.S. household debt tops 2008 peak with $12.73 trillion

Staff Writer |
Total household debt climbed to $12.73 trillion in the first quarter to top the peak reached in 2008 before the housing market crash and severe economic downturn led to a historic reduction, according to government data released Wednesday.

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But this time, Americans are doing much better handling their mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and other borrowing, the data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed.

Consumers were delinquent on 4.8% of total debt, a marked improvement from the 11.9% of debt that was at least 30 days late at the end of 2009.

Rising household debt — up from $12.58 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year — can indicate that Americans are confident in their jobs and the overall economy.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, total household debt hit $12.68 trillion. It took “an unusually long time from a historical perspective” for debt to get back to that level, Fed researchers said.

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