New York (CNN Business)In the last few months, Yumekia Jones, a legal assistant at the Mississippi Center for Justice’s Indianola office, has fielded an unusually high number of calls — a roughly 400% spike — from people in dire need of immediate financial assistance.
Most want to avoid payday loans, which offer quick cash against future paychecks without a credit check and come with an interest rate above 500%. But the rapidly increasing prices of food, fuel and rent gives them few options.
Inflation rates are at a 40-year high and unemployment is near a half-century low. To most economists those two realities spell out significant economic trouble.
To payday lenders, however, they signal happy days and good times ahead.
“Low unemployment plus inflation generally mean consumers may need loans for additional capital to manage through unexpected spikes and expenses while earning money to pay back these loans,” said David Fisher, CEO of short-term, subprime lender Enova (ENVA) said during an earnings call in May. The company, an online-only lender, beat quarterly earnings estimates by 7.7%.