The federal government isn’t the only sector of the U.S. economy falling deeper into debt. So are U.S. households. Their total debt rose $63 billion to $13.21 trillion in the first quarter, topping the $13.15 trillion peak in the fourth quarter and marking the 15th consecutive increase, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York‘s latest quarterly report on household debt and credit.
First-quarter household debt also topped by more than $530 billion the $12.68 trillion peak reached in the third quarter of 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession. And it’s almost 19% above the post-financial crisis trough reached in the second quarter of 2013.
Mortgage debt continues to be the largest component of household debt, rising $57 billion to $8.94 billion, or 0.6%, but student loan debt, the second largest component, rose more than three times as much, up 2.1%.
Student loan debt increased $29 billion to $1.41 trillion, and close to 11% of those loans were 90 days or more past due or in default as of the first quarter. That’s slightly below the level in the fourth quarter, but the report notes that the delinquency rate may be twice as high because about half of those loans are in deferment, forbearance or enjoying a grace period and therefore temporarily excluded from the repayment cycle.