US Households Owe Record Amount, Topping 2008 Pre-Recession Peak

Americans’ debt level reached a record high this year, surpassing the peak touched just as the worst of the recession was taking hold in 2008, and marking a milestone for households that now lean less on mortgages and more on auto and student loans.

Total U.S. household debt was $12.73 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2017, up $473 billion from a year ago, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York survey released on Wednesday.

Total indebtedness is now 14 percent above the 2013 trough of household deleveraging brought on by the 2007-2009 financial crisis and Great Recession. The previous peak, in the third quarter of 2008, was $12.68 trillion, and the New York Fed stressed that the pull-back since then marked an “aberration” from what had been a 63-year upward trend in household debt.

The quarterly survey on household debt and credit showed that

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