WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. credit research firm FICO said that student loan delinquencies were climbing fast due to higher debt, slow wage growth and a shortage of jobs.
In a set up that sounds like a perfect storm owing to the three deteriorating factors, FICO said delinquent student loans reached 12.4 percent for loans that originated from 2005 through 2007.
In a subsequent two-year stretch with loans originating in 2010 through 2012, the delinquency rate is expected to reach 15.1 percent, a 22 percent increase, FICO said.
The primary cause of new delinquencies, FICO said, is significantly higher debt. Student loan debt averaged $17,233 in 2005, a figure that jumped 58 percent in seven years to $27,253 in 2012.
On average over the same seven years, revolving debt and car loan debt decreased, FICO said.
With the economy recovering slowly and job growth also slow, "This situation is simply unsustainable and we're already suffering the consequences," said Dr. Andrew Jennings, FICO's chief analytics officer and head of FICO Labs in a statement.
"When wage growth is slow and jobs are not as plentiful as they once were, it is impossible for individuals to continue taking out ever-larger student loans without greatly increasing the risk of default. There is no way around that harsh reality," Jennings said.