by Wolf Richter
How are consumers positioned going into the crisis?
Most of the first quarter was still the Good Times, but in later February and early March it hit the fan, as markets were crashing. In mid-March lockdowns started to roll across the country, and the layoffs by the tens of millions commenced. So how were consumers positioned going into this crisis? Many of them, up to their eyeballs in debt.
Consumer debt – student loans, auto loans, and revolving credit such as credit cards and personal loans but excluding housing-related debts such as mortgages and HELOCs – jumped by $153 billion at the end of the first quarter, compared to Q1 a year earlier, or by 3.8%, to $4.15 trillion (not seasonally adjusted), according to Federal Reserve data: