I think I've mentioned several times here to be suspicious of stories using a lot of percentages -- it probably means the raw numbers weren't scary enough, and you are being misled. Here's a good example from The New York Times:
The portion of people who have home equity lines more than 30 days past due stands 55 percent above its average since the American Bankers Association began tracking it around 1990.
But the numbers went from what to what to achieve that scary 55 percent? What was that average used for the baseline? is the way Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute asks the question: "If delinquencies have moved from 2% to 3%, that would be a 50% increase, but maybe not so scary. And since the reporter resolutely provides no other context, suspicion is warranted." So he did a little digging, and found that the average used was not 2 percent. "The percentage of HELOC accounts that were more than 30 days past due rose 14 basis points to 1.10 percent during the first quarter (seasonally adjusted)."