Debt Consolidation and Credit Card Bills |

Are you worried that you might be heading toward debt consolidation? Do you dread opening your credit card statement each month? Do you wonder if you’ll be able to pay your mortgage this month?

If so, you’re far from alone.

A new Associated Press-GfK poll found that 46 percent of respondents said that they are suffering from debt-related stress. Half of these people added that their stress was either a “great deal” or “quite a bit.”

If you want to be optimistic, you could look at the survey and say that 53 percent of respondents say that they are feeling little to no stress regarding their debt. That’s pretty good. You could even take it as a sign that people are starting to feel the effects of the economy’s slow recovery.

Still, those 46 percent of respondents who are feeling stressed about everything from having to take out debt consolidation loans to struggling to make their mortgage payments each month is a troubling statistic.

It’s little wonder, though, that these people are feeling gloomy regarding the economy. Unemployment is still far too high. It stood at 9.9 percent in late May. At the same time, many workers have seen their annual incomes shrink thanks to forced days off. Adding to the stress is the nation’s rising housing foreclosure rate. Many people are worried that they’ll soon lose their homes.

Overall, only 20 percent of respondents to the Associated Press-GfK poll ranked the economy as being good. That’s far from a majority. Of course, last year only 15 percent said the same thing about the economy, so things are looking up, slightly.

If you want a bit more good news, the poll also found that consumers are doing a better job of paring down their debt. The average amount owed on credit cards was $3,900, according to the poll. In the fall, the poll found that this number stood at $5,600.

What will it take to boost the number of respondents who feel positive about the economy and aren’t worried so much about debt consolidation, credit card bills, and their credit scores? We’ll need to see the nation’s unemployment rate fall, the number of housing foreclosures plummet, and the value of homes rise again.

That’s asking a lot. We’ll probably continue to see, then, a lot of people worried about the economy.