Increase in Card Debt: Sign of a Downturn or a Symptom of Consumer Confidence?

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Increase in Card Debt: Sign of a Downturn or a Symptom of Consumer Confidence?

Dec, 31st 2016

Consumers' happiness with the economy right now has led to elevated spending as 2016 comes to a close.

And as consumers spend, one area to watch is the rise in credit card debt levels as Americans now owe as much on those cards as in the quarter before the 2008 financial crisis began, according to a recent WalletHub study. Their balances rose to $747 billion at the end of this year's third quarter, making up 6% of a total $12.35 trillion in U.S. household debt, a separate report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows.

The question for economists is whether that surge in spending represents a justifiable optimism that consumers will benefit under the administration of President-elect Donald Trump or if...

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