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Americans have racked up a trillion dollars in credit card debt. That’s actually OK

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Americans racked up a record amount of credit card debt in 2023, soaring past a trillion dollars. But a mass retrenching in consumer spending — the main driver of the US economy — is unlikely this year, according to economists.

Workers are still commanding robust wage gains, the stock market is on solid footing, attitudes toward the economy have improved dramatically in recent months, and consumers spent at a healthy clip during the holidays.

Card debt has indeed surged in nominal terms, but after adjusting for inflation, it’s nearly 20% below a peak it reached in late 2008, according to a WalletHub analysis of New York Fed data. Americans also seem equipped to deal with…

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