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Promising signs for a struggling economy

In places like Broward County, Florida, and elsewhere, many families would argue that they have yet to rebound financially from the recent economic crisis. In fact, countless people are still unemployed or reentering the workforce from retirement out of necessity. There are clues, however, that the U. S. economy may slowly be improving, offering hope that some degree of debt relief may be felt by more Americans in the near future.

Several factors, including consumer diligence and debt relief programs, are thought to contribute to the improvements seen in the national economy. However, it’s not yet fully understood how consumer spending may contribute to the growth. Following previous economic downturns, household spending rebounded faster than it seems to be this time around, and consumers may have lost faith in the market.

Even so, definite signs of growth are being seen around the country. According to the U. S. Federal Reserve, national household aggregate assets have increased considerably in less than four years. Furthermore, the household assets-to-debt ratio is the strongest it’s been in almost a decade.

The national average of household assets is on the rise largely because the housing market is beginning to stabilize. Even though it has yet to reach the level it was at the beginning of the millennium, home equity levels are up more than 10 percent from only a few years ago. Many homeowners are paying off their mortgage loans and others are being assisted by lenders. In only around five years, national mortgage debt has decreased more than 10 percent too. Another encouraging sign is that stock prices are also on the rise.

If such estimates are correct, there is hope that more Americans will see their own financial situations improve soon.

Source: The Buffalo News, “U. S. consumers’ household debt down,” Mark Whitehouse, Sep. 25, 2013

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