The easy availability of credit card debt meant that many people had excessive debt. They bought more than they could pay off every month. Many people simply paid the minimum every month and continued to live beyond their means. This excessive credit card debt fueled continued economic growth for many years.
The recession has curtailed credit card debt. It has dropped over 10% in each of the first three months of 2009. Despite this drop-off, credit card debt was still at $931 billion in April. This is an average of $7,957 of credit card debt per household.