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New LegalShield Law Index Brings Leading Indicators Of Actionable, Hard Data To Reveal Economic Trends

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monthly Index Covers Over 70% of the GDP to Predict Economic Health

 

ADA, Okla.June 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, the LegalShield Law Index—launched today—provides a forward-looking snapshot of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses. The Index is made up of five indices, including the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index, LegalShield Housing Activity Index, LegalShield Bankruptcy Index, LegalShield Foreclosure Index, and the LegalShield Real Estate Index. Each index relies on LegalShield's unique and proprietary database of actual member demand for and usage of legal services to predict the health of the U.S. economy.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends

 "The LegalShield Law Index is generated from actual consumer and business demand for various legal services provided by our closed panel of dedicated law firms covering all 50 states," said James Rosseau, LegalShield's Chief Commercial Officer. "Each index is a leading economic indicator and is released in a more timely manner than traditional economic indices. Our index predicts economic activity that represent more than 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States. The LegalShield Law Index provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the mid- to near-term," continued Rosseau.

The key predictive takeaways from the first public release of data, through May 2017, are as follows:

  • Consumer confidence may continue to ease in the months ahead, but will likely remain strong by historical standards.
  • Housing starts, which have risen at a stubbornly slow pace since 2012 and remain well below pre-recession levels, should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.
  • Bankruptcy filings should remain subdued in the near term. However, elevated levels of household debt are worth keeping an eye on, as they could lead to upward pressure on bankruptcy filings in the future.
  • Foreclosures should remain subdued in the short term, but may begin to rise in the second half of the year.
  • Existing home sales should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.

The LegalShield Law Index is made up of five indices that are generated from LegalShield's proprietary data, which tracks the demand for different types of legal services for the various areas of law over the past 15-plus years. Each time a LegalShield partner law firm receives a request from a LegalShield member, the request is logged as an "intake" within one of roughly 70 unique areas of law (e.g., real estate, criminal, bankruptcy), depending on the nature of the legal need.

"We are excited to share our forward-looking data about the U.S. economy, based on the actual legal needs of our members and the work of our provider law firms—data that covers more than one-and-a-half decades of activity. When our members contact their LegalShield provider law firm, we record the area of law," explained Rosseau. "In aggregate, our index foreshadows economic activity based on actual legal events in the lives of individuals, families and small businesses."

The flagship LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index tends to lead the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index by one to three months. LegalShield's May data suggest that the recent run-up in consumer confidence may have overshot economic realities, and that consumer confidence levels may consequently pull back in the months ahead.

"While there are reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy, since December there has been a divergence of 'soft data' based on consumer and business confidence surveys, and 'hard data' based on actual market events, such as demand for legal services," Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO, said. "Historically, when the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index drifts away from the Consumer Confidence Index, it is typically consumer confidence that falls back into line with our index, not the other way around. We saw this in 2006 and 2007, when our index provided an early warning signal of the drop-off in confidence at the outset of the Great Recession."

LegalShield will be releasing the Index monthly, on the sixth business day of each month. Today the company is releasing May data, along with an assessment of what the data suggest about the health and direction of the U.S. economy. For access to the economic assessment, please visit https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends/.

The five separate measures that comprise the LegalShield Law Index together provide a leading indicator of the economic and financial status of American households and small businesses. The indices closely track a handful of key economic indicators, such as the Consumer Confidence Index (developed by the Conference Board), Housing Starts (reported by the U.S. Census Bureau), and Foreclosure Starts (reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association). Each LegalShield index has undergone a battery of statistical tests overseen by a PhD economist to validate its relationship to an existing economic indicator that sheds light on the health and direction of the U.S. economy.

LegalShield's suite of law indices provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the near term. Each index is based on data collected through LegalShield's provider law firms across all 50 states, thereby offering insights that are not accessible to the general public.

The Index is based on data collected on a near real-time basis, and will be refreshed and released monthly along with forecast statements on each index. The Index is based on intakes among more than 1.6 million memberships (including individuals and small businesses), providing a window into the legal needs of families and businesses across the country at any given point in time.

About LegalShield 
LegalShield is one of the North America's leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families and small businesses. The company also offers one of the industry's most affordable and comprehensive identity theft plans, IDShield. LegalShield plans provide protection to more than 4.2 million individuals, and IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services to more than one million individuals across North America. In addition, LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 141,000 businesses.

For as little as $20 per month, LegalShield members get access to attorneys with an average of 19 years of experience in areas such as family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50 states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help without having to worry about high hourly rates.

For more information, visit http://www.LegalShield.com/hub/KenyattaTurner or contact Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, 602-367-1069

Tags:  business  business decision-making  business development  Business growth  business plan  business resources  business services  business worries  economic development  economy  finance  ID Theft  Identity Fraud  Legal  legal services  real estate  setting goals  small business  small business marketing  small business strategy  women owned small business  women-owned business 

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ASBA 2015 Legislative Agenda

Posted By Jerry Bustamante, Arizona Small Business Association, Friday, January 9, 2015

Although the Five C’s have historically represented a strong foundation that we Arizonans are proud of, small business and the entrepreneurial spirit are what now fuels Arizona’s economy and are the largest sources of job creation in our state. Currently, 97% of Arizona businesses are small and our state ranks among the highest in the nation where entrepreneurs are welcomed and small business is most likely to succeed.  Small business is now the backbone of Arizona’s economy and has proven to be a reliable source of employment during both difficult and prosperous times.  

ASBA is committed to advocating for Arizona small businesses by supporting legislation that promotes a favorable business climate for commerce, and where entrepreneurship is encouraged.  ASBA’s public policy efforts are focused on legislation that impacts the top five priorities of Arizona’s small business community, namely economic development, education, taxation, regulation, and health care.  ASBA calls on the Arizona Legislature to adopt the following recommendations that support the expansion and future prosperity of our state’s core economy: small business.

About ASBA

The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is a non-partisan, privately funded trade association representing over 10,000 small businesses that employ over half a million people.   ASBA is a statewide organization supporting member businesses throughout Arizona in all 15 counties, and 30 legislative districts.  Founded by small business owners and in business for over forty years, ASBA is the largest trade association in Arizona and the only one dedicated exclusively to supporting and providing services to small businesses. 


In addition to being a trade organization, ASBA is a statewide buying group that leverages the collective purchasing power of its members that allows them to receive group discounts on essential business products and services.  ASBA also delivers high value promotional opportunities, training and mentoring support, annual signature events and well attended networking events for its members.  Finally, ASBA employs a talented staff of association management professionals in its Phoenix and Tucson offices and is led by a volunteer board of directors.  
 
Economic Development
Working to expand economic opportunities to existing Arizona small businesses


The efforts and deal making that come with recruiting high profile companies with the promise of delivering high wage jobs is what headlines are made of, and what economic development is known for.  However, the larger and less publicized facet of economic development is the support and creation of new opportunities for existing businesses that keep Arizonans employed and public services funded.  ASBA is committed to supporting economic development by advancing legislation that will benefit, provide resources and create new opportunities for existing Arizona businesses and entrepreneurs.  Such economic development policies include:

·        Increased access to capital for start-up, and early-stage firms,

·        Streamlined and accessible local procurement policies and practices that provide preference for contracts awarded by competitive bid to Arizona bidders, over nonresident bidders,

·        Strong career and technical training to prepare competent and work-ready Arizonans for current and future Arizona jobs through our community colleges, and programs such as JTED; and

·        Improved transportation and logistics corridors to enhance the movement of commerce safely and more efficiently throughout Arizona. 

Education
Acknowledging education as the cornerstone to Arizona’s growth and prosperity

ASBA reaffirms its acknowledgement that education and workforce development is the key to Arizona’s continued economic growth and prosperity.  A top notch K-12 system together with career and technical training are essential to preparing students to meet the needs of tomorrow’s Arizona jobs.  Proper funding and long-term commitment to a consistent set of education standards will provide stability and perpetual improvement opportunities to ensure the needs of students and employers are being met.  ASBA also believes that increasing the performance of Arizona schools and teachers through proper professional development and efficient administration is essential and to be expected.   ASBA supports measures that:

·        Protect future Arizona budgets by properly funding K-12 education in accordance with state statutes,

·        Include a market and achievement-based compensation structure to recruit and maintain qualified instructors and administrators,

·        Support and fund career and technical training in high schools, specialized training programs such as JTED and our community colleges that are developing a work-ready talent pool aligned with the needs of Arizona employers; and

·        Support and expand educational choice through alternatives such as charter schools, online learning, home schooling and career and technical education programs.

Taxation
Complying with Arizona’s Tax code should not burden businesses

Understanding and complying with Arizona’s Tax code should not create an undue burden on small businesses.  Tax reform continues to be one of the top policy priorities of Arizona’s small business community.  ASBA supports tax policies and efforts by state government that reduce the cost of doing business in Arizona by simplifying our state’s tax code.  ASBA opposes implementing a tax on services and will oppose attempts to repeal legislation that will increase taxes on business.  ASBA will advocate for legislation and efforts that:

·        Support the continuation of the Brewer Era tax cuts for Arizona businesses,

·        Support the implementation of a single point of administration where Arizona businesses can file all Transaction Privilege (Sales) Tax returns, and make payments,

·        Encourage the Arizona Department of Revenue to update its software so that all income tax returns can be filed electronically,

·        Minimize discrepancies between Arizona’s income tax code, and the U.S. income tax code; and

·        Reduce the complexity and administration of complying with Arizona’s tax code.

Regulation
Cutting red tape will lead to more ribbon cuttings

Nothing stifles investment, innovation and job creation more than an outdated and unbalanced regulatory system.  Excess regulation not only increases the cost of doing business, it decreases the confidence that businesses require to take the necessary risks to develop economically.  ASBA supports efforts by state government and legislation to modernize Arizona’s regulatory system and increase transparency.  ASBA strongly believes that increasing business confidence through regulatory reform can be achieved by:

·        Maintaining the temporary moratorium on all new agency rules not required by federal law,

·       Rejecting legislation that would increase liability and regulation of employers beyond that required by federal law; and

·       Rejecting arbitrary wage and hour mandates, and other forms of state and federal encroachment into free enterprise.
 

Health Care
Helping Arizona businesses comply with the ACA and providing access to superior healthcare plans
 

Arizona small businesses continue to find themselves uncertain and concerned with complying and understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Problems with the rollout of healthcare.gov, healthcare plans being canceled by insurance companies and the increasing divisiveness by the two major political parties on the issue continues to erode people’s confidence in the ACA and our healthcare system.  ASBA recognizes that this is a federal issue.  However, ASBA will look to the Arizona Legislature to ensure that Arizona small businesses: 

 

·        Have access to a variety of healthcare choices,

·       Are not burdened with additional administrative expenses necessary to comply with the Affordable Care Act,

·        Have access to the best and most affordable healthcare plans available,

·        Have access to an efficient and reliable online portal to shop the healthcare marketplace,

·        Have access to ancillary products such as dental, life and long term care insurance available through the same online portal; and

·        Are not burdened with the cost of maintaining Arizona’s 2013 expansion of Medicaid, if the Federal Government eliminates its funding of that expansion.   
 

Summary


ASBA’s public policy efforts will be primarily focused at the state level where ASBA is best positioned to make the greatest impact in support of Arizona small businesses.  We recognize the challenges that state lawmakers and Governor Ducey will face during the 2015 legislative session.  Yet, we believe that our legislative priorities and recommendations are essential and reasonable, acknowledging the budgetary challenges that Arizona faces. 

ASBA’s Public Policy Team includes:

Rick Murray, ASBA CEO  
Jerry Bustamante, ASBA Sr. VP, Public Policy
  
ASBA Central Office                                                     
4600 E. Washington Street, Suite 340
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Ph: 602.306.4000

ASBA Southern Arizona Office
1022 W. Ina Road
Tucson, AZ 85704
Ph: 520.327.0222

asba.com

Tags:  economic development  education  government affais  Legislative  political issues  politics  regulation  taxation 

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