(The Seattle Times) – A record 7 million Americans are 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payments, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported Tuesday, even more than during the wake of the financial crisis era. Economists warn this is a red flag. Despite the strong economy and low unemployment rate, many Americans are struggling to pay their bills. “The substantial and growing number of distressed

borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market,” economists at the New York Fed wrote in a blog post. A car loan is typically the first payment people make because a vehicle is critical to getting to work, and someone can live in a car if all else fails. When car loan delinquencies rise, it is a sign of significant duress among low-income and working-class Americans. READ MORE

The Seattle Times is a daily newspaper serving Seattle, Washington, United States. It has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest region. The newspaper was founded in 1891 and has been controlled by the Blethen family since 1896.