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 Calmed in August Amid High July
Despite high inflation, consumer stress eased in August largely due to easing gas prices and the continued strength of the labor market. LegalShield expects financial stress to continue to rise in the months ahead as high inflation and rising interest rates weigh on consumers but believes that consumers are generally well-positioned to handle increasing stress.
Bankruptcies Eased in August
The LegalShield Bankruptcy Index improved 1.6 points to 22.6 in August. In July, total seasonally adjusted bankruptcy filings rose 2.8% to31,841, but were down 0.9% compared to a year ago. Though there are some warning signs that bankruptcies could rise later this year, LegalShield data suggest that any increase is likely to be gradual.
Foreclosures Lowest This Year, Pre-Foreclosure Activity Up
The LegalShield Foreclosure Index improved in August to its lowest reading this year. Foreclosure activity has been gradually returning to its pre-pandemic trend after the expiration of government support but remains low by historical standards. The number of properties in pre-foreclosure increased in Q3.
Slight Improvement in Housing Construction
The LegalShield Housing Construction Index improved marginally in August from its lowest level since June 2020, and it remains above pre-pandemic levels. Despite this improvement, rising interest rates and high costs of building materials are weighing on home building activity. LegalShield data suggest that construction activity will ease further in the coming months, though construction levels may not plummet thanks to the backlog of homes builders still have to work through.
Home Sales at Lowest Level Since May
The LegalShield Housing Sales Index fell to its lowest level since May 2020. As the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and home prices remain high, housing affordability is a growing concern. LegalShield data suggest that existing home sales will continue to weaken over the remainder of the year.
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