Meanwhile, there are some signals that the job market is improving. Employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring in August and September was much stronger than first estimated. The economy has gained an average of 173,000 jobs a month since July. That's up from 67,000 a month in April through June.

Still, unemployment remains stubbornly high at just under 8 percent.

At the state level, Florida led the nation in the third quarter with the highest mortgage delinquency rate of any state at 13.09 percent. It was followed by Nevada at 10.93 percent; New Jersey at 8.33 percent; and, Maryland at 6.86 percent.

The states with the lowest delinquency rate were North Dakota at 1.44 percent; South Dakota at 2.21 percent; Nebraska at 2.25 percent; and, Alaska at 2.48 percent.

TransUnion anticipates the national mortgage delinquency rate will decline slightly in the fourth quarter to about 5.35 percent, even though some cash-strapped homeowners typically elect to put off making some of their debt payments so they can spend on holiday shopping.

The company's research is culled from TransUnion's database of 27 million anonymous consumer records.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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