Rising Unemployment Hurts Families Working to Pay Off Debt Says Persels & Associates

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The rising unemployment rate is taking its toll on families working to pay off debt. It’s expected to get worse as unemployment numbers continue to stay high.

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We hear stories every day about the devastating impact consumer debt has on a family.

The rising unemployment rate is taking its toll on families working to pay off debt. It’s expected to get worse as unemployment numbers continue to stay high.

This morning, the Labor Department announced that the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in September, reflecting a continued stall-out in the recovery. The unemployment rate has held between 9.5 and 9.7 percent since April. And it has remained at or above 9.5 percent for 14 months, the longest spell in more than 70 years.

Long-term unemployment takes a much deeper toll than short-term unemployment on a person’s finances, emotional well-being and career prospects, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that explores the attitudes and experiences of workers who have lost jobs during the Great Recession. These factors greatly impact a consumer’s ability to pay.

Persels & Associates, a national law firm based in Towson, Maryland is on the front lines helping consumers work with credit card companies to restructure unsecured debt payments. Persels & Associates, LLC provides representation for over 50,000 clients with a staff of over 25 in the Persels central office and 200 field attorneys accepting clients in 47 states.

“We hear stories every day about the devastating impact consumer debt has on a family,” said Persels Operations Manager Joe Cosentini. “The unemployment numbers mean that more people will have a harder time paying their unsecured debt. We work with consumers and the credit card companies to find solutions for those consumers experiencing financial difficulties.”

Persels & Associates and its predecessors have been working with clients to restructure unsecured debt payments for over 10 years. The law firm bridges the "gap" that can exist between the consumers and creditors. The firm’s ability to provide legal advice and negotiate payments consumers can afford can be essential to people working their way out of debt.

The Pew Research Center’s Findings on the Impact of Unemployment

Family finances: A majority of the long-term unemployed (56%) say their family income has declined during the recession, compared with 42% who were out of work less than three months and 26% of adults who have not been unemployed since the recession began in December 2007. Overall, the long-term unemployed are also more likely to say they are in worse shape financially now than before the recession.

Impact on relationships: Nearly half (46%) of those unemployed six months or more say joblessness has strained family relations, compared with 39% of those who were out of work for less than three months. At the same time, more than four-in-ten (43%) long-term unemployed say they lost contact with close friends.

Loss of self-respect: Nearly four-in-ten (38%) long-term unemployed report they have lost some self-respect while out of work, compared with 29% who were jobless for shorter periods of time. The long-term unemployed also are significantly more likely to say they sought professional help for depression or other emotional issues while out of work (24% vs. 10% for those unemployed less than three months).

Impact on career goals: More than four-in-ten (43%) of the long-term unemployed say the recession will have a big impact on their ability to achieve their long-term career goals.

While the amount of total revolving debt has fallen this year, the number owed is still in the trillions and the U.S. Census Bureau predicted that about 181 million Americans would owe credit card debt in 2010. That figure is up from 163 million Americans in 2008.

“While amount credit card debt is down, overall there are still individuals and families who are experiencing new job loss or prolonged job loss that impact their ability to pay,” said Cosentini. “We are here for those families and individuals who continue to struggle with job loss, health issues or other factors that can impact finances.”

About Persels & Associates

Persels & Associates, LLC, and its entities are pioneers in the field of offering "unbundled" legal services to individuals who cannot afford traditional legal services. As Americans credit debt rose, Persels & Associates bridged the "gap" between consumers and their debtors. Today Persels & Associates provides representation for over 50,000 clients with a staff of over 200 field attorneys accepting clients in 47 states and 25 central office staff attorneys. For more information, please visit http://www.perselsandassociates.com .

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Karen McGagh
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