The PPLSI Economic Stress Index™
Households and small businesses across the U.S. are each fighting individual battles when it comes to their financial and economic well-being. The PPLSI Economic Stress Index allows us to take a closer look and anticipate the future through unique leading indicators.
Data and insights featured in
As part of our mission to make sure every person has equal access to justice, we mine our data every month for insights policymakers can use to make a real, positive impact on the world. Comprised of five sub-indices which reflect the demand for various legal services over the past 15+ years, the PPLSI Economic Stress Index uncovers the daily challenges people are facing. It also provides actionable intelligence to help policymakers and industry leaders bridge those gaps.Get the latest report
Leading indicators of the U.S. economy
5 insights from the latest data report
Stress is Highest Since December 2020
The LegalShield Consumer Stress Index worsened in July 2022 to its highest level since December 2020. The level is low by historical standards, however, Americans are feeling the financial strain with inflation and higher prices on every day households essentials. Labor market remains strong with 528,000 new jobs added in July 2022 and appears to be well-positioned to handle additional rate hikes by the Fed.
Sharp Increases in Near-Term Unlikely
The LegalShield Bankruptcy Index increased (worsened) by the most in two years, though it remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Signs of debt delinquencies, and eventually bankruptcies, could increase in the coming months as consumers have difficulty making payments, however, bankruptcies are expected to continue a gradual rise with no sharp increases in the near-term.
Foreclosures Saw Small Spike in July
The LegalShield Foreclosure Index increased in July, though it remains below its pre-pandemic level. Foreclosure activity has been gradually returning to its pre-pandemic trend after the expiration of government support, though it remains low by historical standards. A slow and steady normalization in foreclosure starts is expected in the months ahead.
Housing Construction Sees First Decline in Three Months
After three months of increasing (worsening), the LegalShield Housing Construction Index decreased in July 2022 and is at its lowest level since June 2020. Rising interest rates and high costs of building materials are weakening demand and causing homebuilder optimism to fall.
Home Sales at Lowest Level in Two Years
The LegalShield Housing Sales Index fell to its lowest level since June 2020. LegalShield data suggest that existing home sales will likely continue to ease over the remainder of the year. Housing affordability is a growing concern as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and home prices remain high.
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