The Federal Reserve announced on Thursday that household debt decreased for the first time since the Fed started keeping this data over 50 years ago. For the period of July - September, households reduced their debt by an annual rate of 0.8 percent.
The Associated press reports:
"The decline in household debt levels is evidence of the severe credit squeeze that is occurring as banks, saddled by billions of dollars of losses in mortgage debt, have tightened lending standards and made it harder for people to get loans."
"Mortgage debt fell at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the third quarter, the largest decline on record."
Additional details can be found the Associated Press article here.