Don Schlagenhauf is an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His research focuses on macroeconomics and policy, with emphasis on housing. He joined the St. Louis Fed in 2017. Read more about the author and his research.
The upward trend in per capita consumer debt slowed in the third quarter of 2016.
For a long time after the recession, consumers shed debt. But it’s growing again – up 2.1 percent from the first quarter last year.
Consumers keep borrowing, but delinquency rate data do not appear to signal a severe debt problem on the horizon.
The amount of consumer debt has exceeded a 2008 peak. But in inflation-adjusted terms, the current debt level is still below the peak set during the Great Recession.
Consumers have reduced overall debt since the Great Recession, but not every type of debt shrank. The leveraging also varied among different ages.
Debt growth and delinquency rate data do not seem to indicate that a severe debt problem may be brewing in these cities.
Auto and student loans remained the fastest growing consumer debt categories in the second quarter, a Center for Household Financial Stability report states.