Only 9 years in the making since the 2008 peak.....total U.S. household debt rose by $149b in the first three months of 2017, reaching a total of $12.725t. Keep in mind, the data is not inflation adjusted and now total debt is only 67% nominal gross GDP versus 85% of GDP in 2008. So real deleveraging has occurred, and household balance sheets look drastically differently today with less household related debt and more student and auto debt (student debt loans rose from 4.8% to 10.6% of total indebtedness and auto went from 6.4% to 9.2%).
The total debt held by American households reached a record high in early 2017, exceeding its 2008 peak after years of retrenchment in the face of financial crisis, recession and modest economic growth. The milestone, announced Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, was a long time coming. Americans reduced their debts during and after the 2007-09 recession to an unusual extent: a 12% decline from the peak in the third quarter of 2008 to the trough in the second quarter of 2013. New York Fed researchers, looking at data back to the end of World War II, described the drop as "an aberration from what had been a 63-year upward trend reflecting the depth, duration and aftermath of the Great Recession."