The LegalShield 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 LegalShield 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 LegalShield 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
Components of the LegalShield Economic Stress Index
Consumer Stress Index
Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. The flagship Consumer Stress Index tends to lead the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index by one to three months. The Consumer Stress Index also provides a useful “hard” data check on the Consumer Confidence Index and similar measures of consumer confidence that are based on “soft” survey data, as these measures are not always consistent with underlying economic conditions.
Bankruptcy data provides an important insight into the overall financial health of consumers and businesses. As witnessed during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, an uptick in bankruptcies can foreshadow significant turmoil within the economy. The Bankruptcy Index tends to lead the trajectory of total bankruptcies by roughly one month, providing an early warning signal of an economic downturn.
A rise in foreclosures often signals a worsening of household finances, as households typically delay payments on other debt obligations in order to pay their mortgages on time. The Foreclosure Index closely tracks foreclosures as reported each quarter by the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Housing Construction Index
The housing market, broadly defined, accounts for up to one-seventh of U.S. economic activity, and the amount of new residential construction can provide insights into consumers’ confidence about their jobs and future income. The Housing Construction Index tends to lead U.S. Census data on housing starts, a key economic indicator, by 1 to 2 months, providing timely intelligence about near-term housing market health.
Housing Sales Index
The housing market accounts for a significant share of U.S. economic activity, and the pace of existing home sales can provide insights into consumers’ confidence about their jobs and future income. The Housing Sales Index tends to lead existing home sales as published by the National Association of Realtors and offers an early look at emerging trends in the housing market.
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