What You Need to Know about Pandemic Relief Programs Expiring and What it Means for the Economic State

People getting COVID tested and receiving relief packages

LegalShield data show overall consumer stress remains muted

Despite economic challenges faced by American consumers, the LegalShield Economic Stress Index shows overall consumer stress remains at bay as we enter the fourth quarter of another pandemic year.

While the Delta variant has hindered employment and caused rising rent and housing costs, the Economic Stress Index has barely been affected.

However, just because consumer stress seems surprisingly relaxed doesn’t mean turbulent times aren’t on the horizon. Let’s break down what’s happening based on the current trending needs of LegalShield Members.

Demand for employment and landlord-tenant legal services rose in the third quarter

Demand for legal services related to employment and landlord-tenant issues rose in the third quarter, suggesting that some consumers face uncertainty about their financial situations as pandemic-era relief programs expire.

If this trend continues, it could translate into a larger increase in financial stress and slower spending.

As federal assistance in many areas end, households and businesses around the country will inevitably feel the added financial pressure.

What should you be aware of as we head into the fourth quarter of 2021?

LegalShield’s data reflects the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses and provides insight into the direction of the U.S. economy in the near term. Month by month, we take note of the demand for specific legal services and how this sheds light on the economy. While some indexes remained unchanged, we can still predict what will happen in the coming months by analyzing our data.

Key takeaways and trend predictions:

  • Consumer Stress Index increased (worsened) in September, and as inflation rises, stress will continue to weigh on households.
  • Financial pressures are bubbling up for lower-income consumers as the price of goods increases and housing costs skyrocket.
  • Bankruptcy filings were down over 20% year-over-year, primarily due to government protections and benefits, which are now either expired or expiring soon.
  • Due to the recent surge in home values, many borrowers are able to sell their homes to avoid foreclosure. However, in general, foreclosure activity is expected to increase in the coming months.
  • The Housing Construction Index increased and reached a new record high last month due to extreme demand. Homebuilders continue to grapple with high material costs and a lack of skilled labor.
  • The Housing Sales Index also reached a new record high last month. While home sales are expected to grow, increasing prices may influence affordability for some consumers. Despite cost concerns, all indications point to housing sales likely remaining strong for the foreseeable future.

Talk to your provider lawyer about your legal concerns

As we embark on the last few months of 2021, a lot is happening in the economy, and it’s essential to know how to prepare. Talk to your provider lawyer for any financial, real estate, or consumer-related legal questions you have.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield members through membership-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. If you are a LegalShield member, please contact your provider law firm for legal advice or assistance.

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