US households now hold a record $14 trillion in debt

US households now hold a record $14 trillion in debt

Total household debt rose by $193 billion during the last quarter of 2019, continuing a five-year upward trend. It now stands $1.5 trillion higher, in nominal terms, than the pre-recession peak of $12.7 trillion reached in 2008.

Year-over-year, total household debt rose by $601 billion.

The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates three times last year and since then, Chairman Jerome Powell has signaled the central bank plans to take a wait-and-see approach for this year.

Student loan debt also continued to rise in 2019, topping $1.5 trillion -- but its growth has slowed. Student debt climbed by $51 billion last year, well below the $114 billion increase reported in 2013. About 11% of the student loan debt was more than 90 days delinquent -- about the same as it was during the previous quarter.

But delinquencies are rising faster for credit card debt holders.

"Transitions into delinquency among credit card borrowers have steadily risen since 2016, notably among younger borrowers," said Wilbert Van Der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed, in a statement.

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