Tags: us | economy | americans | debt

Debt-Ridden Americans Worse Off Than Ever — Study

Monday, 14 May 2012 08:37 AM

The U.S. economy may be improving but Americans are still bogged down by massive debt burdens with little or no savings, a study finds.

One out of five families owes more on credit cards, medical bills, student loans and other unsecured debt than they have in savings, according to a new University of Michigan study, USA Today reports.

At the end of 2011, the number of families with no savings rose to 23.4 percent from 18.5 percent in 2009, the study finds.

Editor's Note: Startling Proof of the End of America’s Middle Class. Details in the Video

"The people who were down and out, without much money, in the recession have ended up staying there or even worse," says Frank Stafford, professor of economics at University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and co-author of the report, USA Today adds.

Many Americans dipped into savings while unemployed during the downturn, which continues to plague households today.

Even those who land work are finding it takes time to pay bills and restock savings pools.

"They still have debt to deal with before they can take care of things like saving more money or paying for their kids' college education," says Gail Cunningham, director of consumer education for Credit.com, USA Today adds.

Still, some bright spots are appearing on an otherwise bumpy road to recovery — U.S. consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than four years in early May.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary May reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment improved to 77.8 from 76.4 in April, topping forecasts for a small decline to 76.2, Reuters reports.

It was the highest level since January 2008.

"Households are feeling more comfortable. It's pretty good news for consumer spending," says Gus Faucher, senior macroeconomist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh, Reuters adds.

Editor's Note: Startling Proof of the End of America’s Middle Class. Details in the Video



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