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OSU's Debt Stress Index Indicates Consumers More Confident About Debt

Americans are worrying less about the debt they carry. New figures from an Ohio State University survey show that the Debt Stress Index is declining from this summer's all time high.

The Debt Stress Index is a monthly sampling of American consumers. October figures show a continued decline in debt stress levels from July's record high. Ohio State economics professor Lucia Dunn says the drop means consumers are more confident they can manage their debts.

"Consumers are likely to be spending more. If debt stress is dropping it means that they're going to loosen their purse strings," Dunn says. We'll probably see better retail sales this holiday than we would have if we had seen the levels of debt stress that we were seeing earlier in the year."

Dunn cautions that the index is still above the January 2006 benchmark. And that means that consumers could curtail spending after the holidays.