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Job Losses, Fraud Driving Rockford Foreclosure Auctions

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Record job losses and fraudulent activities have been driving Rockford foreclosure auctions.

In the first three months of this year, Rockford has been posting among the highest metro jobless rates in the nation. Although the Rockford jobless rate has dropped from its highest level of 19.7 percent in January to 18.6 percent in February and then to 17.9 percent in March, the rate was still double-digit and was still among the highest rates.

In January, Rockford posted the highest rate of increase in metro unemployment rate in the country, with a staggering 5.8 percentage points in increase. It also ranked fifth among metro areas with the highest jobless rates, surpassing even seriously troubled Rust Belt cities like Flint and Detroit in Michigan and Elkhart-Goshen in Indiana. Other Illinois cities with high rates of increases were Peoria and Decatur, which posted spikes of 5.5 and 5.2 percentage points respectively.

Local analysts said that the decline in Rockford manufacturing largely caused job losses in the area. Area lawyers added that a huge percentage of their clients have become unemployed and no longer use their services.

According to University of Illinois economists, manufacturing decline was also worsened by job losses in other nonfarm jobs. They said that 25,400 nonfarm jobs have been lost since December 2007 and that the number of employed workers has fallen by 24,500.

They said that current difficulties in employment will top the hardships experienced during the 1982-1983 recession, which was then considered the worst they have seen.

Aside from unemployment, mortgage-related fraud has also pushed more homes into Rockford foreclosure auctions. The Rockford regional unit of the Better Business Bureau said that the number of complaints against foreclosure prevention companies has shot up by 126 percent over the past year.

Distressed homeowners who paid these foreclosure rescue firms eventually lost their homes because the lenders were not receiving any response from them, as these borrowers thought all are being taken care of by the mortgage rescue firms.

The BBB is advising homeowners to check with the Illinois Real Estate Commission and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General before negotiating with a foreclosure prevention firm. Homeowners are also warned not to sign any document without reading all the contents. They said that many borrowers have signed papers transferring ownership to the foreclosure firms.

The unemployment problem also continues to drive foreclosure auctions in Illinois. In March, the jobless rate in the state was 11.5 percent, far above the national rate of 9.7 percent. Over the past year, Illinois lost a total of 148,500 jobs.

In March, a total of 14,199 homes in Illinois were put into foreclosure, pushing the total number of foreclosure postings in the first quarter to 45,780, the fourth highest total in the country during the month.

People planning to search foreclosed homes for sale in Illinois can consider looking at postings for Rockford foreclosure auctions. As the second largest Illinois city, it has been contributing a significant number of distressed properties to the statewide total of foreclosures.

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