National Economic Impact Study of the Debt Settlement Industry

After releasing an extensive study of the debt settlement industry and its vast contributions to the economies of dozens of states and the United States at large, the American Fair Credit Council (AFCC) in 2020 commissioned another independent research study to again assess the national economic impact of debt settlement activity. Using the same 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 Americans who have taken advantage of debt settlement.1

The industry contributes to the American economy in a variety of ways, three of which are particularly profound. First, the debt settlement industry employs thousands upon thousands of Americans across the country. Second, creditors participating in the debt settlement process receive funds from debtors faster than they would otherwise. 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
$7,187,615
Total Jobs Supported
172
Total Annual Output
$32,970,735
Alaska
Industry Output
$385,731
Total Jobs Supported
23
Total Annual Output
$5,054,440
Arizona
Industry Output
$444,677,685
Total Jobs Supported
7971
Total Annual Output
$1,233,491,896
Arkansas
Industry Output
$2,666,851
Total Jobs Supported
92
Total Annual Output
$18,634,190
California
Industry Output
$372,318,072
Total Jobs Supported
3479
Total Annual Output
$751,124,303
Colorado
Industry Output
$22,073,859
Total Jobs Supported
410
Total Annual Output
$77,236,445
Connecticut
Est. Industry Output
$23,416,839
Est. Total Jobs Supported
277
Est. Total Annual Output
$63,707,931
Delaware
Industry Output
$12,049,193
Total Jobs Supported
112
Total Annual Output
$28,614,752
District of Columbia
Industry Output
$2,761,326
Total Jobs Supported
34
Total Annual Output
$8,297,773
Florida
Industry Output
$129,616,142
Total Jobs Supported
2668
Total Annual Output
$413,444,157
Georgia
Est. Industry Output
$78,430,564
Est. Total Jobs Supported
1066
Est. Total Annual Output
$213,656,451
Hawaii
Est. Industry Output
$1,500,315
Est. Total Jobs Supported
53
Est. Total Annual Output
$9,871,210
Idaho
Industry Output
$23,314,652
Total Jobs Supported
430
Total Annual Output
$61,998,449
Illinois
Est. Industry Output
$94,184,960
Est. Total Jobs Supported
1416
Est. Total Annual Output
$286,671,568
Indiana
Industry Output
$9,156,717
Total Jobs Supported
228
Total Annual Output
$51,828,350
Iowa
Est. Industry Output
$7,460,495
Est. Total Jobs Supported
149
Est. Total Annual Output
$34,100,910
Kansas
Est. Industry Output
$15,020,960
Est. Total Jobs Supported
261
Est. Total Annual Output
$49,027,135
Kentucky
Industry Output
$6,610,313
Total Jobs Supported
156
Total Annual Output
$30,785,307
Louisiana
Industry Output
$8,169,912
Total Jobs Supported
184
Total Annual Output
$42,047,462
Maine
Est. Industry Output
$8,365,588
Est. Total Jobs Supported
141
Est. Total Annual Output
$24,244,863
Maryland
Industry Output
$93,878,945
Total Jobs Supported
1504
Total Annual Output
$253,470,832
Massachusetts
Industry Output
$91,318,138
Total Jobs Supported
1386
Total Annual Output
$260,238,154
Michigan
Industry Output
$24,195,694
Total Jobs Supported
483
Total Annual Output
$92,979,725
Minnesota
Industry Output
$9,709,483
Total Jobs Supported
206
Total Annual Output
$45,944,353
Mississippi
Industry Output
$4,491,157
Total Jobs Supported
109
Total Annual Output
$20,037,877
Missouri
Industry Output
$14,284,281
Total Jobs Supported
306
Total Annual Output
$57,809,077
Montana
Industry Output
$1,264,238
Total Jobs Supported
41
Total Annual Output
$7,931,626
Nebraska
Industry Output
$5,697,544
Total Jobs Supported
115
Total Annual Output
$24,525,007
Nevada
Industry Output
$93,598,542
Total Jobs Supported
1326
Total Annual Output
$222,325,077
New Hampshire
Est. Industry Output
$8,329,257
Est. Total Jobs Supported
136
Est. Total Annual Output
$24,642,703
New Jersey
Est. Industry Output
$17,974,068
Est. Total Jobs Supported
326
Est. Total Annual Output
$70,650,583
New Mexico
Industry Output
$2,760,032
Total Jobs Supported
75
Total Annual Output
$13,175,209
New York
Industry Output
$569,136,365
Total Jobs Supported
4240
Total Annual Output
$1,251,857,318
North Carolina
Industry Output
$16,496,394
Total Jobs Supported
324
Total Annual Output
$74,852,060
North Dakota
Est. Industry Output
$4,801,625
Est. Total Jobs Supported
88
Est. Total Annual Output
$15,362,740
Ohio
Est. Industry Output
$80,300,414
Est. Total Jobs Supported
1088
Est. Total Annual Output
$218,732,818
Oklahoma
Industry Output
$7,744,426
Total Jobs Supported
191
Total Annual Output
$32,631,528
Oregon
Est. Industry Output
$25,611,724
Est. Total Jobs Supported
389
Est. Total Annual Output
$70,663,606
Pennsylvania
Industry Output
$63,975,339
Total Jobs Supported
1217
Total Annual Output
$216,809,917
Rhode Island
Est. Industry Output
$6,510,084
Est. Total Jobs Supported
115
Est. Total Annual Output
$19,794,333
South Carolina
Est. Industry Output
$34,913,520
Est. Total Jobs Supported
572
Est. Total Annual Output
$97,667,517
South Dakota
Industry Output
$4,657,772
Total Jobs Supported
66
Total Annual Output
$14,830,545
Tennessee
Industry Output
$16,789,403
Total Jobs Supported
332
Total Annual Output
$63,442,539
Texas
Industry Output
$163,508,587
Total Jobs Supported
2941
Total Annual Output
$536,865,936
Utah
Industry Output
$16,076,075
Total Jobs Supported
236
Total Annual Output
$47,712,432
Vermont
Est. Industry Output
$3,326,005
Est. Total Jobs Supported
63
Est. Total Annual Output
$10,523,584
Virginia
Industry Output
$28,985,269
Total Jobs Supported
417
Total Annual Output
$89,468,443
Washington
Est. Industry Output
$9,375,744
Est. Total Jobs Supported
235
Est. Total Annual Output
$52,307,716
West Virginia
Est. Industry Output
$9,371,562
Est. Total Jobs Supported
239
Est. Total Annual Output
$37,053,252
Wisconsin
Industry Output
$6,684,662
Total Jobs Supported
191
Total Annual Output
$42,149,544
Wyoming
Est. Industry Output
$3,794,733
Est. Total Jobs Supported
68
Est. Total Annual Output
$11,354,160

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

Each year, the debt settlement industry offers a significant contribution to the U.S. economy, accounting for a total economic impact of $6.8 billion.3 This impact is realized across business and personal interests extensively:

  • Indebted Americans saved $1.65 billion in 2019 as a result of debt settlement programs.4
  • Creditors participating in debt settlement programs in 2019 received more than $658 million in revenue that might otherwise have been delayed or not received at all.5
  • In 2019, the industry was cumulatively responsible for nearly 34,000 jobs across the U.S., and more than $821 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 handful of states where the product is currently not widely available were given the opportunity to take advantage of debt settlement services. That resulting economic impact annually would be $758 million larger, with about 4,120 additional jobs,7, including:

  • $387 million more in savings for consumers.8
  • $59 million in taxes to the federal government.9
  • $32 million in supplementary state and local tax revenues.10

The resulting study report and data confirms once again that debt settlement companies provide a vital service, giving Americans in desperate financial situations a path back to financial wellness. In total, the debt settlement industry serves as an advocate for consumers, while delivering billions in economic benefits, supporting thousands of U.S. jobs, and enabling 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. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact of the Debt Settlement Industry (2020). Page 5.
  2. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 2.
  3. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 2.
  4. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 12.
  5. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 8.
  6. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 3.
  7. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 9.
  8. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 9.
  9. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 9.
  10. Dunham. (2020). 2020 Economic Impact. Page 9.