Borrowers in St. Louis boosted their auto debt by nearly nine percent last year, while taking on three percent more in student debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
That student loan debt – with high delinquency rates of 12 percent – is setting off alarms among analysts who warn that financially-strapped young people could slow the entire economy. Average student debt has hit $23,600 in the St. Louis Fed’s territory, below the national average of $25,000.
The sharp rise in auto loans reflects booming auto sales in the region and across the nation. But the average loan, at $11,500, is well below the student burden and the typical borrower is older. The auto delinquency rate is 2.8 percent in the St. Louis metro area, and 3.1 percent nationally.
The St. Louis Fed monitors the economy in a broad area including eastern Missouri, southern Illinois, all of Arkansas and parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Update: March 21 at 11:00 a.m.
The headline of this story was updated to provide more detail about the nature of the St. Louis Fed’s report.