How Consumer Debt in Colorado Changed During the Pandemic

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Published Saturday, December 4, 2021
by Samuel Stebbins, 24/7 Wall St. via The Center Square

At the height of COVID-19 pandemic, the nation's unemployment rate soared to 15%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The fallout on American workers was immediate as many lost their paychecks or saw their wages plummet overnight. However, broadly speaking, in much of the country, the economic damage from the pandemic did not prove to be as devastating as many first predicted.

The majority of Americans did feel a money crunch, but various surveys show mixed results. Partially because of government stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and a more watchful eye on their spending, Americans appear to have weathered the economic turmoil fairly well -- at least so far.

According to the nonprofit think tank Urban Institute, most Americans shored up their bank accounts and kept their spending in check. The median amount of debt in collection nationwide rose a scant $16 between February and October 2020, inching up from $1,833 to $1,849 -- though this amount varies by state.

In Colorado, the median amount of debt in collections fell from $1,682 to $1,637 between February and October 2020. The $45 change ranks as the ninth largest improvement of the 20 states to report a decrease in median debt in collections agencies.

The typical amount of debt in collections is not the only financial indicator that improved in Colorado in the early months of the pandemic. Likely due in large part to certain provisions of the CARES Act, the mortgage delinquency rate fell from 1.8% in February 2020 to 1.0% in October 2020. The act, which was passed in March 2020, stipulated that federally-backed lenders suspend mortgage collections from borrowers in single-family homes if they were faced with financial hardship resulting from the pandemic.

All data in this story is from Urban Institute's "Credit Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic" report.

 

State

Change in median debt in collections ($)

Median debt in collections, Feb. 2020 ($)

Median debt in collections, Oct. 2020 ($)

Oklahoma

+120

2,122

2,242

Alaska

+108

2,073

2,181

Nebraska

+92

2,003

2,095

Nevada

+83

2,132

2,215

Utah

+75

1,891

1,966

Missouri

+73

1,948

2,021

Mississippi

+71

1,774

1,845

Washington

+62

1,794

1,856

Texas

+61

2,102

2,163

California

+54

1,842

1,896

New Hampshire

+54

1,674

1,728

Vermont

+46

1,702

1,748

Maryland

+41

1,569

1,610

Florida

+39

2,186

2,225

Alabama

+36

1,917

1,953

Georgia

+35

1,948

1,983

Louisiana

+35

1,899

1,934

Massachusetts

+35

1,549

1,584

Wyoming

+31

2,478

2,509

Iowa

+30

1,647

1,677

Virginia

+28

1,776

1,804

Minnesota

+27

1,700

1,727

Illinois

+25

1,547

1,572

Tennessee

+12

1,947

1,959

South Dakota

+11

2,201

2,212

Rhode Island

+9

1,794

1,803

Kansas

+5

1,746

1,751

Oregon

+2

1,540

1,542

Arizona

+1

2,051

2,052

Pennsylvania

+1

1,821

1,822

Maine

-3

1,694

1,691

New York

-5

1,755

1,750

New Jersey

-7

1,379

1,372

Arkansas

-8

1,671

1,663

Indiana

-16

1,872

1,856

Kentucky

-27

1,342

1,315

Ohio

-29

1,529

1,500

New Mexico

-37

1,761

1,724

Montana

-38

1,837

1,799

Delaware

-44

1,891

1,847

Colorado

-45

1,682

1,637

Idaho

-45

2,307

2,262

Michigan

-51

1,553

1,502

West Virginia

-62

1,643

1,581

Hawaii

-73

1,999

1,926

Connecticut

-79

1,625

1,546

South Carolina

-100

2,197

2,097

North Carolina

-102

1,670

1,568

Wisconsin

-148

1,854

1,706

North Dakota

-244

2,158

1,914

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