Student loan delinquencies hit a record $166.4 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.
The record high debt was calculated from the Federal Reserve’s quarterly household debt report. The calculations include the total amount owed and the percentage of payments which have been delinquent for at least 90 days or are in default. The percentage has remained around 11 percent since 2012, but the student debt total reached around $1.5 trillion by the end of 2018, and delinquent debt increased to the highest level ever.
Delinquencies continued to climb even as the unemployment rate fell, suggesting that the US job market hasn’t generated enough wage growth to help people out of debt.
The delinquencies could have broader implications, the total is nearly twice the amount the US Treasury provided to bailout the auto industry during the Great Recession.