By Matthew Goldstein
Bad data continues to confound the U.S. government in its measurement of the economy, with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noting it too has been a victim.
In the Fed’s most recent report on outstanding consumer debt, the nation’s central bank said it recently discovered it had been underestimating the total dollar amount of student loan debt for a number of years. In the report, the NY Fed said some of the under-counting may have stemmed from the methodology used by one of its vendors.
The Fed said it has fixed the problem, which was a significant one. The Fed says it may have been under-estimating outstanding student loan debt by some $290 billion.
But don’t worry, the Fed indicates there’s nothing wrong with its other data collection. And on that front, the Fed said overall consumer debt at the end of the third-quarter declined by $60 billion to $11.66 trillion.
Let’s hope the Fed hasn’t been under-counting outstanding home loans and credit card debt either.