National Economic Impact Study of the Debt Settlement Industry

The American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) in 2019 commissioned a first-of-its-kind research study to assess the national economic impact of debt settlement activity. In partnership with the research firm John Dunham & Associates (JDA), data was collected from across the United States to illustrate the debt settlement industry’s substantial positive impact on the U.S. economy and the hundreds of thousands of Americans1 who have taken advantage of debt settlement.

The industry contributes to the U.S. economy in a variety of ways, three of which are particularly significant. First, the debt settlement industry employs thousands of Americans across the country. Second, creditors participating in debt settlements receive funds from debtors faster than they otherwise would. Finally, and most importantly, consumers with crippling unsecured debt enrolled in debt settlement programs are able to get back on their feet rapidly and once again contribute positively to their local economies.2

Alabama
Industry Output
$6,773,200
Total Jobs Supported
163
Total Annual Output
$28,876,700
Alaska
Industry Output
$330,500
Total Jobs Supported
9
Total Annual Output
$2,642,400
Arizona
Industry Output
$294,080,100
Total Jobs Supported
5232
Total Annual Output
$811,987,500
Arkansas
Industry Output
$2,249,200
Total Jobs Supported
76
Total Annual Output
$14,008,200
California
Industry Output
$248,520,700
Total Jobs Supported
4237
Total Annual Output
$791,050,700
Colorado
Industry Output
$19,856,600
Total Jobs Supported
374
Total Annual Output
$64,496,200
Connecticut
Est. Industry Output
$23,729,771
Est. Total Jobs Supported
540
Est. Total Annual Output
$97,962,040
Delaware
Industry Output
$10,874,500
Total Jobs Supported
139
Total Annual Output
$27,781,000
District of Columbia
Industry Output
$2,283,200
Total Jobs Supported
21
Total Annual Output
$5,371,200
Florida
Industry Output
$126,620,500
Total Jobs Supported
2599
Total Annual Output
$403,379,400
Georgia
Est. Industry Output
$53,312,076
Est. Total Jobs Supported
1757
Est. Total Annual Output
$277,811,357
Hawaii
Est. Industry Output
$4,563,260
Est. Total Jobs Supported
155
Est. Total Annual Output
$24,597,149
Idaho
Industry Output
$1,961,000
Total Jobs Supported
47
Total Annual Output
$8,684,000
Illinois
Est. Industry Output
$65,105,274
Est. Total Jobs Supported
2033
Est. Total Annual Output
$345,031,450
Indiana
Industry Output
$8,141,200
Total Jobs Supported
207
Total Annual Output
$43,535,400
Iowa
Est. Industry Output
$18,420,658
Est. Total Jobs Supported
481
Est. Total Annual Output
$78,818,839
Kansas
Est. Industry Output
$12,033,657
Est. Total Jobs Supported
402
Est. Total Annual Output
$64,761,980
Kentucky
Industry Output
$5,518,300
Total Jobs Supported
123
Total Annual Output
$24,819,800
Louisiana
Industry Output
$7,596,400
Total Jobs Supported
179
Total Annual Output
$33,058,800
Maine
Est. Industry Output
$4,956,631
Est. Total Jobs Supported
185
Est. Total Annual Output
$27,140,375
Maryland
Industry Output
$104,134,900
Total Jobs Supported
1618
Total Annual Output
$274,020,500
Massachusetts
Industry Output
$36,170,300
Total Jobs Supported
561
Total Annual Output
$107,996,800
Michigan
Industry Output
$21,290,900
Total Jobs Supported
442
Total Annual Output
$81,482,700
Minnesota
Industry Output
$8,941,800
Total Jobs Supported
195
Total Annual Output
$37,858,600
Mississippi
Industry Output
$4,014,800
Total Jobs Supported
77
Total Annual Output
$14,091,300
Missouri
Industry Output
$90,969,500
Total Jobs Supported
1647
Total Annual Output
$255,852,600
Montana
Industry Output
$1,053,400
Total Jobs Supported
26
Total Annual Output
$4,527,500
Nebraska
Industry Output
$5,895,000
Total Jobs Supported
116
Total Annual Output
$22,444,100
Nevada
Industry Output
$11,940,600
Total Jobs Supported
208
Total Annual Output
$34,983,900
New Hampshire
Est. Industry Output
$5,837,944
Est. Total Jobs Supported
184
Est. Total Annual Output
$29,191,607
New Jersey
Est. Industry Output
$44,124,382
Est. Total Jobs Supported
1307
Est. Total Annual Output
$222,156,028
New Mexico
Industry Output
$2,383,900
Total Jobs Supported
65
Total Annual Output
$9,755,700
New York
Industry Output
$98,303,900
Total Jobs Supported
1316
Total Annual Output
$285,555,800
North Carolina
Industry Output
$12,707,900
Total Jobs Supported
326
Total Annual Output
$62,766,100
North Dakota
Est. Industry Output
$3,045,514
Est. Total Jobs Supported
96
Est. Total Annual Output
$15,335,692
Ohio
Est. Industry Output
$57,907,668
Est. Total Jobs Supported
2075
Est. Total Annual Output
$324,825,611
Oklahoma
Industry Output
$8,228,200
Total Jobs Supported
192
Total Annual Output
$30,323,500
Oregon
Est. Industry Output
$14,919,882
Est. Total Jobs Supported
525
Est. Total Annual Output
$80,906,371
Pennsylvania
Industry Output
$70,026,100
Total Jobs Supported
1202
Total Annual Output
$213,364,100
Rhode Island
Est. Industry Output
$3,878,589
Est. Total Jobs Supported
136
Est. Total Annual Output
$21,639,964
South Carolina
Est. Industry Output
$24,625,699
Est. Total Jobs Supported
724
Est. Total Annual Output
$111,003,254
South Dakota
Industry Output
$4,488,500
Total Jobs Supported
78
Total Annual Output
$13,847,700
Tennessee
Industry Output
$14,760,900
Total Jobs Supported
301
Total Annual Output
$53,153,900
Texas
Industry Output
$135,747,800
Total Jobs Supported
2696
Total Annual Output
$467,281,500
Utah
Industry Output
$12,922,200
Total Jobs Supported
253
Total Annual Output
$41,642,700
Vermont
Est. Industry Output
$1,408,575
Est. Total Jobs Supported
65
Est. Total Annual Output
$9,898,237
Virginia
Industry Output
$24,810,400
Total Jobs Supported
437
Total Annual Output
$78,991,300
Washington
Est. Industry Output
$32,942,669
Est. Total Jobs Supported
962
Est. Total Annual Output
$164,838,948
West Virginia
Est. Industry Output
$3,867,186
Est. Total Jobs Supported
162
Est. Total Annual Output
$23,597,803
Wisconsin
Industry Output
$5,907,600
Total Jobs Supported
140
Total Annual Output
$30,190,200
Wyoming
Est. Industry Output
$1,634,499
Est. Total Jobs Supported
56
Est. Total Annual Output
$9,080,269

States colored in light blue show an estimated total economic impact if debt settlement is widely available.

The debt settlement industry contributes to the U.S. economy in a variety of ways each year, accounting for a total economic impact of $4.9 billion in 2018.3 This impact is realized across business and personal interests extensively:

  • Indebted Americans saved $1.6 billion in 2018 as a result of debt settlement programs.4
  • Creditors participating in debt settlement programs in 2018 received more than $600 million in revenue that might otherwise have been delayed or not received at all.5
  • In 2018, the industry was cumulatively responsible for nearly 28,000 jobs across the U.S., and more than $650 million generated in federal, state and local taxes.6

To see the debt settlement industry’s local economic impact scroll over each state using the interactive map above.

The study also examined the potential economic impact of the industry if consumers in the 18 states where the product is currently not widely available were given the opportunity to take advantage of debt settlement services. That resulting economic impact in the U.S. annually would total an additional estimated $1.4 billion and 9,170 jobs, including:

  • $422.4 million more in savings for consumers.7
  • 629.9 million in additional payments owed to creditors.8
  • $102.3 million in supplementary state and local tax revenues.9

The resulting study report and data confirms debt settlement companies provide a vital service, giving Americans in desperate financial situations a path back to financial wellness. The debt settlement industry serves as an advocate for consumers and it delivers billions in economic benefits, supports thousands of U.S. jobs and enables creditors to receive payments on outstanding debt, in situations where they would not have benefitted otherwise.

To view the full report, click here.

  1. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact of the Debt Settlement Industry (2019). Page 4. Dunham & Associates.
  2. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 2.
  3. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 2.
  4. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 11.
  5. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 7.
  6. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 3.
  7. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 3.
  8. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 9.
  9. Dunham. (2019). 2019 Economic Impact. Page 9.