According to the most recent Associated Press Economic Stress Index, “unemployment declined or remained the same in more than three-quarters of the nation’s 3,141 counties and in 43 states. Bankruptcies declined in more than half the counties and in 41 states, while foreclosures rose in more than half the counties and in 27 states”.
The AP’s index calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on their analysis of foreclosures, unemployment, and bankruptcy filings. A score of over 11 is considered to be in the economic stressed category. The average county’s stress score in February was 11, down from previous months. The only states which did not strengthen in February over January were Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico and Wisconsin. All of these states had higher or unchanged unemployment rates and, except for New Mexico, higher foreclosure rates in February. The economically healthiest states were in the Plains and New England: North Dakota (5.21), Nebraska (5.93), South Dakota (6.16), Vermont (6.54) and New Hampshire (7.47).
Stress levels fell in February even in the five states with the highest stress scores. Nevada remained the most stressed state with a score of 21.16. It was followed by California (16.24), Florida (15.2), Arizona (14.57) and Michigan (14.35).” (Note: the statistical excerpts above were taken from an AP article posted on the NPR website.)
If these figures are correct, we can draw a conclusion that the economy has leveled off and is starting to turn around. This is good news for all the unemployed and those of us who are just barely hanging on. A warning however, should be issued to look beneath the surface of the analysis to understand the time line for complete recovery.
First of all, although bankruptcies are going down, they have not plummeted. Bankruptcy filing have been at record levels, but they are declining, a good sign for recovery, but high bankruptcy filings will likely continue for some time.
Home foreclosures are also on the rise. Although most home owners who were on the brink of default have already defaulted, there are some remaining homeowners who are not making mortgage payments and who may soon face foreclosure. It could take years for the housing industry to fully recover. Some so called “experts’ predict a national housing recovery around 2021.
Given the statistics above, it appears the economy is doing better than it was a year ago. Recovery will come slowly, but barring any world catastrophe, it will come. Now might be a good time to start preparing for your future.
If you are facing a financial crisis and you would like to start over, you can file for bankruptcy protection. If you have had hardships during this current economy crisis, filing for bankruptcy may help you prepare for the future.
Bankruptcy laws can be complicated. If you need of relief from the stress of debt and you live in or around the metropolitan areas of Lansing or Detroit, Michigan, contact us at www.betterbankruptcy.com .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who can answer your bankruptcy questions.
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