Financial struggles are still hounding many Americans.

Americans still struggling despite improvements in economy

By: James Abbey, January 25, 2016

There’s no denying that the economy has made serious headway since the Great Recession. The private sector has consistently added jobs – i.e. nearing 70 months of uninterrupted employment growth, according to government data – the unemployment rate is a shell of its former self and foreclosure activity is down sharply from where it used to be.

Best of all, mortgage rates are still affordable, making a mortgage estimate a more enjoyable experience. At the same time, though, many Americans are still hurting financially, as the aftereffects of the recession haven’t gone away completely.

Foreclosure starts rise 12 percent

“1 in every 1,150 homes foreclosed in October.”

Perhaps the best representation of consumers’ trying economic circumstances resides in real estate. In October, for instance, foreclosure starts across the country were reported on over 115,100 single-family residences, according to real estate information firm RealtyTrac. That’s up 12 percent from September and by 6 percent for overall filings.

Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac vice president, noted that the 12 percent increase is more than two times higher than the 5 percent average that’s been typical since 2010.

Double digit negative equity rates in several cities
Similarly, many people own mortgages that cost more than their homes are worth. Between July and the end of September, for example, nearly 14 percent of homeowners had underwater mortgages, with Las Vegas, Kansas City and Cleveland having the highest negative equity rate at 17 percent, 16.6 percent and 16.8 percent, respectively, based on data from home listings website Zillow. Having negative equity can make it harder to sell a house.

“Labor participation rate is at near 40 year lows.”

Even in the employment market, while conditions have improved – i.e. at 5 percent in November, the jobless rate is at a near nine-year low – many people aren’t looking for work, having found no luck during their job searches. The labor participation rate currently resides at 62.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The last time it was at this rate was in the late 1970s.

It’s situations like these that can lead to serious financial stress, needing money to keep the lights on and put food on the table – and quickly. Homeowners always have the option of selling their residence, but with limited resources, getting a property into “selling shape” doesn’t come easily. As the old saying goes, in order to make money, you need to have money.

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