As if Valentine's Day was not enough to celebrate, the national debt eclipsed another milestone. We are now more than 22 trillion dollars in debt as a country. Keep in mind that a trillion is a million millions.....and we owe 22 of them. Other notable statistics that came out this week.
Yesterday, I wrote about a record number of people being behind 90 days or more on their car loans. Also, this week we hit a record level of consumer debt. That comes out to 7% higher than the levels of debt that we had before the financial crisis.
10% of student loans are seriously delinquent.
Of course, credit card debt set an all time new high in balances. There was another interesting stat that came out involving credit card debt. The level of credit inquiries over the last 6 months was the lowest on record. That is an odd statistic. Does that mean that credit is starting to dry up? A bigger question is why is credit card debt climbing like it is? After all, we are at the highest average interest rates of all time. Is it borrowing out of necessity or to buy a new flat screen? Why would anyone in record numbers buy something and pay 20% plus interest on it? However, people all day long would pay 20 plus interest rates for necessities to keep their family going.
Another piece of evidence that consumers are charging out of need - retail sales in December (CHRISTMAS BUYING SEASON) plunged 1.2%. This is the biggest drop in 9 years. Along with that number, real estate sales suffered a huge drop in December. The decline -10% lower than last December's numbers.
With "record" economic growth and job growth, it doesn't make sense. Something doesn't add up. The consumer given a "healthy" environment should be in better shape. The bottom line is sometimes numbers lie and sometimes they tell the truth. The debt numbers seem to be the only numbers telling the truth.