Almost a year ago we shared a calculation according to which "Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default", suggesting that the next credit crisis has already arrived. Since then the topic of the student loan bubble has become a household topic. Sadly, that does not mean it has gotten any better. In fact, according to the latest Education Department data it has gotten as bad as it has ever been. As Bloomberg reports, not only have overdue student loans reached an all-time high but the number of young people aged 20-24 out of school and unemployed is at a record high: not quite astronomic by European standards, but hardly a ringing endorsement of an economy set to transition labor tasks to the next generation, especially with the employment of those 55 and older at all time highs.
Eleven percent of student loans were seriously delinquent -- at least 90 days past due -- in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 6 percent in the first quarter of 2003, according to the report by the U.S. Education Department. Almost 30 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds aren’t employed or in school, the study found.
The research is being released amid concern in Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration about rising college costs and $1 trillion in outstanding student loans, the largest category of consumer debt besides mortgages. Borrowers say the burden is affecting their choice of jobs and their ability to buy homes and get married.
“Today’s economy puts young graduates in a difficult position,” Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which published the report, said in a statement. “A college diploma no longer guarantees a direct pathway to the middle class, making it harder to justify the expense of a degree.”
It's not all bad news: those saddled with tens of thousands of student debt at least have a leg up on those with no college education, supposedly:
College graduates have an edge in the job market, showing the need for higher education, Buckley said. The employment rate for young adults who are college graduates is 87 percent, compared with 64 percent for those with only a high-school diploma, the report found.
Which is great news for college grads looking for temp jobs and other openings for which they never even went to college. Oh well: new normal and all that. And if all else fails, they can just open an E*Trade account, take some trading lessons from the E*trade baby, and just BTFD.