In spite of a record-high jobless rate and grim prospects for an economic turnaround, U.S. consumers are shedding debt and spending more responsibly. The end result for many Americans is a higher credit score, according to Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), who testified before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

In fact, testified Hartwig, 43% of U.S. consumers increased their credit score earlier this year, while only 27% saw a decrease, and 30% remained unchanged. Hartwig quoted San Francisco-based a March 2009 Credit Karma report that was based on a sampling of tens of thousands of U.S. consumers.

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