According to the latest edition of the report, total U.S. household debt hit a record $16.9 trillion during the fourth quarter last year – a 2.4 percent increase from the previous quarter, which is equivalent to $394 billion, or 2.4 percent, from the previous quarter. (Related: Fed data: Household debt just increased at fastest pace in 15 years.)
Most of it is due to mortgages, but credit card balances are also swelling at record levels. Worse, delinquencies are on the rise as well.
Credit card debt in the United States increased at the fastest pace during the fourth quarter. Credit card balances increased nearly 6.6 percent to $986 billion during the quarter, the highest quarterly growth on record since at least 1999, according to New York Fed data. Year over year, credit card balances grew 15.2 percent.
Early delinquencies, which refer to credit card users making payments that are at least 30 days late, rose last quarter to 5.9 percent from 5.2 percent in the prior quarter. The share of serious credit card delinquencies, which represents payments that are 90 or more days late, rose to four percent last quarter from 3.7 percent in the prior quarter.
The New York Fed said 18.3 million Americans were behind on their credit card payments at the end of 2022, 2.5 million more than at the end of 2019.
Due to high inflation, about two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and getting swamped by bills that they simply can't afford to pay.
Brent Eldridge, a homeowner in California, was horrified when he was hit by a utility bill that is nearly eight times higher than his bill at the same time last year. Eldridge had heard that prices for natural gas were high this winter, but nothing prepared him for how bad it could be. "It made me want to puke," said Eldridge.
The price of food also continues to soar.
Authorities and mainstream media are urging people to eat less food to resolve the issue. Just recently, the Wall Street Journal posted an article entitled "To Save Money, Maybe You Should Skip Breakfast."
Now, central banks all over the globe are raising interest rates in a desperate attempt to get inflation under control. This, of course, will only make it harder for people to get out of the debt trap.
Higher interest rates are also expected to seriously slow down economic activity, and there are all sorts of signs that this is already beginning to happen.
Home construction in America has fallen to the lowest level since the early days of the pandemic. New U.S. home construction slumped again in January to the lowest level since 2020 as elevated mortgage rates combined with pervasive inflation continued to cool demand.
America and many other countries across the globe are actually in a no-win situation now.
If they quit raising interest rates, inflation could potentially spiral out of control. But if they keep raising interest rates, the economy will continue to implode. They need to pick their poison now and hope to survive.
Watch this video about credit card debt reaching record levels.
This video is from the Rudyk Report channel on Brighteon.com.