WASHINGTON (12/15/09)--Consumers have been paying down debt and saving more than they did during the economic boom, but the average level of household debt is still 120%--leaving consumers wary, a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) senior economist told The Street Monday. “Most people and investors are thinking we’re not going to come roaring out of this; it’s going to be a slow, deliberate and painful recovery,” Mike Schenk, CUNA senior economist, told the news outlet. “They want to feel like things are getting better. And once they feel like things are not only getting better but staying better, we can fix some more of these problems.” Consumers will remain skeptical until debt is reduced and wages grow. Retail sales have been strong, “but the real wild card there is if you see big uptick in inflation, that’s going to get big, long-term investors pretty nervous,” he added. For the full article, use the link.