The rate at which consumers were unable to put money toward their outstanding credit card debt increased slightly in the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest statistics from the American Bankers Association. Delinquent accounts – those 30 days or more behind – increased to 3.64 percent nationwide, up from 3.62 percent at the end of the second quarter.
This marked a reversal of a year-long trend in which delinquent credit card debt declined significantly. This was likely as a result of a more stagnant job market, according to ABA chief economist James Chessen.
"I think we'll see momentum return and delinquencies improve over the next six months," Chessen said. "There's less uncertainty about the economy now, and consumers and businesses feel more confident. Improvements hinge on a consistent increase in new jobs."
Delinquent and defaulted credit card debt is often associated with unemployment because many jobless consumers may lean more heavily on these accounts to make ends meet and add significant amounts to their outstanding balances.