Credit card debt held by American households surged in the second quarter of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data's quarterly report, published on Aug. 2.
"Balances now stand at $16.15 trillion and have increased by $2 trillion since the end of 2019, just before the pandemic recession," notes the report, which is based on data from the New York Fed's nationally representative Consumer Credit Panel.
Mortgage balances rose by $207 billion in the second quarter of 2022 and stood at $11.39 trillion at the end of June, compared with $10.44 trillion in the year-ago period, while credit card balances also have increased, by $46 billion, since the first quarter
The report notes that while seasonal patterns typically include an increase in the second quarter, "the 13 percent cumulative increase in credit card balances since second quarter 2021 represents the largest in more than 20 years."
Auto loans, meanwhile, also rose, by $33 billion, in the second quarter, to $199 billion, which marks a continued upward trajectory that has been in place since 2011.
Student loan balances, which have been on hold since early on during the COVID-19 pandemic, now stand at $1.59 trillion, roughly unchanged from the first quarter of 2022.
Cutting Back on SpendingThe data come as Americans are battling with consumer prices that were up 9.1 percent over the 12. months ended June, which is the largest increase in 40 years.
As American households are forced to tighten their belts and fears of a recession mount, a string of big retailers across the country have warned that price hikes are affecting how customers shop, and have thus slashed their quarterly and full-year profit outlooks in response.
Joelle Scally, administrator of the Center for Microeconomic Data at the New York Fed, said on Tuesday that the data show "robust increases in mortgage, auto loan, and credit card balances, driven in part by rising prices."
"While household balance sheets overall appear to be in a strong position, we are seeing rising delinquencies among subprime and low-income borrowers with rates approaching pre-pandemic levels," Scally added.
The post added that "the delinquency transition rates for credit cards and auto loans are creeping up, particularly in lower-income areas."