While we struggle to get back on our feet from the great recession, New Jerseyans are still toting around the fourth-highest credit card debt in the country.

That credit card debt averages about $7,600 per person in New Jersey. Rutgers economist James Hughes points out that the economic downturn and its resulting layoffs was a masterpiece of bad timing in a state where many were already deeply buried under their plastic. He says New Jersey lost over 240-thousand private sector jobs during the downturn. Hughes says the state has only recovered about 70-thousand of those lost positions. While the National unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3 percent, it remains stubbornly at 9 percent in New Jersey.

Hughes also says many New Jerseyans used the equity in their homes as what he calls, "ATM machines", borrowing against that equity during better times.

The number of lawsuits for credit card debt recovery has been highest in some of the state's most affluent counties. Examples: Hunterdon County had a 62 percent increase in the number of credit card debt lawsuits between 2007 and 2010. There was also an increase of 56 percent in the suits in Ocean County, a 45 percent increase in Bergen County.