Good news — or not?: Total American household debt hit a new record of $12.7 trillion in the first quarter, surpassing its pre-crisis peak that occurred in 2008. But some observers are more concerned that the event "signals potential new risks to the economy" rather than showing that consumers have fully recovered from the Great Recession.

"The fear is that growing debt from student loans — as well as auto loans and credit cards — could put many Americans back in a hole, triggering a new wave of defaults, much like what happened in the mortgage meltdown a decade ago," the New York Times said.

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