Coffee heat rising

How’s the economic stress level in your parts?

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?

Image: Map of USA Showing State Names. Wikipedia Commons. GNU Free Documentation License.

10 thoughts on “How’s the economic stress level in your parts?”

  1. Oh man! Looks like I left SoCal right in the nick of time. My husband and I were both in education (but not higher education like Frugal Scholar) . . .one of the many things that the state government can’t quite seem to pay for anymore.

    We now live in France where my husband is the only one with a salary so far–but his job is very secure here. Although, people in France are stressed about the economy, they’ve been stressed now for a decade!

  2. We moved to southern Arizona from the Imperial Valley six months ago. It’s like nobody has jobs there. If you work for the state they cut your pay, even give you an IOU instead of your salary. Houses are really cheap though. If you have any money and you want to live there. But no one has any money now. Theres no construction work for DH here but I’ve been able to get houses to clean and you can get $80 or $100 a day. If one out of ten people are out of work, then nine out of ten still have jobs, so some people still have money to hire a maid.

  3. yep – shoveling snow here in the Dakotas’ (South not North for me). We haven’t had the big down swing here – but that is because we don’t get the big up swings either. Unemployment here in Brookings County (home of SDSU – which does not stand for San Diego State University) is about 3.9%. Yes there are jobs here, yes there is cheap housing here, and yes there is snow here, but most has melted, it is +47 degress now!

  4. Things in Madison, WI aren’t bad right now. Sis just got a new gig in very short order. But things are so awful in Milwaukee, most of Michigan, the rest of the state (auto plant closures) that things seem even better because “at least we’re not over there.”

  5. According to this map, things are pretty good in Chittenden County Vermont, 5.3% unemployment and a very mellow stress index of 5.77%. On the ground is a different story.

    We do have the lowest foreclosure rate in the country; in the culture of yankee frugality, many people pay off their homes way early or they don’t have a mortagage because their house has been in the family since the Revolution or something. But everyone in my circle is under threat of layoff or working three jobs or they have given up looking for work. I think what is really striking is that my friends are solid members of the middle class, and they are really scared because they have never “lived poor” — so then, the middle class dilemma — should they take a census job and miss looking for a “real job”? When they apply at BK fast food they are told they are “overqualified”. The map doesn’t measure social stress – job insecurity and frankly, abject fear, are what all conversations come around to, despite our low stress index number.

  6. My area is one of the ‘light’ ones, with low forclosures and a 5% unemployement rate – what doesn’t show is that permanent jobs with good benefits just aren’t there – everything is temporary or contract jobs without benefits.

    I’m on the cusp of ‘bumhood’ – my job will be going away at the end of June. COBRA will burn over a week’s worth of unemployment a month. At least I own my house outright and have little consumer debt.

  7. 6 / 13 / 2010
    I grew up during the GREAT DEPRESSION era. Went to evening college and law school from 1948 – 1960 ; ..been in business for myself , full-time , since 1954 ; ”Nothing happens …..unless you make it happen” ; ”where there is a will ….there is a way” ; ”no will ….no way”
    …..simple , Huh ? ……but , Only-if-you-know-how”

    ”the LAW of the JUNGLE” ……SURVIVAL of the FITTEST” ….and PREPARATION is the KEY !

Comments are closed.