February 17, 2017

CHARGE IT: U.S. household debt near record levels, Federal Reserve report says.

It hasn’t been this high since 2008, but the foundation might be more secure this time around:

The report indicates mortgages still make up the bulk of household debt, but student loans are now 10 percent of the total, auto loans are 9 percent of the total and credit card debt is 6 percent. Dollar amounts rose in each category in 2016’s fourth quarter. The rising debt indicates that banks are extending more credit to households.

A major difference between the 2008 and 2016 debt levels, the report said, is that fewer delinquencies were reported at the end of 2016. In last year’s fourth quarter, 4.8 percent of debts were regarded as delinquent or late in payment, compared to 8.5 percent of total household debt in 2008’s third quarter. There were also 200,000 fewer consumer bankruptcies reported in 2016’s fourth quarter, a four percent decline, compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.

That’s still a lot of debt for households to carry around.