A number of analysts have pointed to consumer activity as the underlying obstacle facing the economic recovery. Spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of the economy, and the lack of sales that has plagued markets in recent years has a reciprocal effect on employment conditions, creating a perpetual vicious cycle of economic woes.
But what's driving the slowdown in spending that's restraining hiring and wider market activity? That's a subject best left to economists, but one of these motivators is most certainly consumer debt.
Student debt recently surpassed the total volume of credit card dues, according to the New York Federal Reserve, while mortgage dues, auto loans and other forms of debt have also racked consumer confidence.
According to a survey released last week by FreeScore.com, Americans spend an average of four hours per day thinking or worrying about debt. More strikingly, 11 percent claim to spend at least 10 hours per day consumed by their debt troubles.
"These results come at a time when the country is at a fever pitch about debt and income issues," said Carrie Coghill, director of consumer education at FreeScore. "While on average Americans are spending four hours daily worrying about debt, many do not know how to start to improve their financial situation."