Here’s a new money tool that’s entertaining or frightening, depending on where you live, and always interesting. The Associated Press has put together an interactive map of the U.S. measuring economic stress nationwide, by county. Mouseover your home county (or anyone else’s) and you see a “stress” index based on unemployment, foreclosure, and bankruptcy figures. The higher the stress index, the harder times are in any given place.
The thing is fascinating. As bad off as things are in Michigan, what with the struggles of the automotive industry, things generally are far worse in California. The Imperial Valley has an unemployment rate of 27.7 percent! That plus a foreclosure rate of 4.28 percent and bankruptcies at 1.14 percent add up to a stress index of 31.58, making my home county look good, with a mellow stress index of 14.45. It’s interesting to observe the trends in various regions; the entire midsection of the country is relatively less affected by the deprecession. Possibly because fewer people live there? People in North Dakota are too busy shoveling snow to worry about the economy?
How does your part of the country measure up?