Just last fall, Americans were feeling better about their personal finances. Now they're starting to worry again about how they'll pay off their debts.
A new Associated Press-GfK poll says that nearly half the country is experiencing debt stress, which is up 17 percent from November.
Grinding unemployment, slow economic growth, volatile gasoline and food prices and political feuding over how to stem the skyrocketing national debt cause Americans to have little faith in a recovery.
The poll says households earning more than $75,000 have had the biggest increase in debt-related stress. But stress levels continue to be highest within the most vulnerable groups. They include households that have lost jobs, people with family incomes below $20,000, single parents and adults without high school diplomas.
The poll says that in all, more than 40 million Americans are feeling serious stress over the money they owe.