Could bad credit keep you out of a job?

Man interviews at Newark, N.J., job fair
Man interviews at Newark, N.J., job fair

It's tough going for many unemployed Americans these days. One factor that makes it all the more distressing is that employers can use your credit report -- even if it's been decimated by prolonged joblessness -- in their hiring decisions. USA Todayreports a distressing 13% of companies use credit evaluations as part of their criteria for deciding who to hire, and half take your credit into account for certain high-security or money-management-related jobs.

While some states are looking to crack down on this practice -- Washington, Hawaii and Oregon have regulations in place -- there's not a lot of protection out there for consumers today. It's legal for a would-be employer to use your credit report as an evaluative tool in deciding whether or not to hire you, Adam Levin, chairman and co-founder of Credit.com, tells WalletPop.