I can’t believe it is already mid-September. I feel like just yesterday it was August, and I was packing my life up to move to Texas. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been working in my new position for almost a month now! How wild is that?
After reading a large number of Yahoo articles, I found a few that were quite interesting. My focus for this post will be on the economic pain that was supposed to ease in July, yet didn’t. For the sake of your eyes and mine, I am mostly going to summarize this article because it can be quite confusing with its “fancy” AP Economic Stress Index. I haven’t lost you already, have I?
Who should read this post: Those of you still looking for a job because you may be looking in the wrong states! Read more below to understand why and where you should be looking.
First of all, this AP Economic Stress Index is basically a tool economists use to calculate economic stress for particular states by looking at three rates: unemployment, bankruptcy, and foreclosure rates. This index is on a scale of 1 to 100. So, just like in elementary school, a higher score means MORE economic stress. As a rule of thumb, a county is considered to be under economic stress if its score exceeds 11. (Hahaha)
For July, about 42% of counties were found to be stressed. If you’ve been looking at these states for job openings, you may want to think again and refine your search:
“Nevada, with a score of 22.1, was again the most stressed state. Put another way, 1 in 4.5 Nevadans in July was either unemployed, owned a home in some stage of foreclosure or had filed for bankruptcy. Rounding out the top five-most-stressed states were Michigan (17.44), California (16.88), Florida (15.94) and Arizona (15.41). (Trust me, I too was upset when I read this. Bummer.)
The healthiest state was North Dakota with a stress score of 4.24. Its score dipped slightly from June, aided by a lower unemployment rate. Next best were South Dakota (5.05), Nebraska (5.92), Vermont (6.29) and Wyoming (7.13).
The national unemployment rate remained the same from June to July, at 9.5 percent. So did the foreclosure rate (one in 62 homes) and the average state’s bankruptcy rate (1.2 percent).
The government stated the unemployment rate for August ticked up to 9.6 percent. Most economists say it will take years for the rate to drop to near 5 percent, where it was when the recession began in late 2007.
Economic stress fell mostly in the Western states of Alaska (7.96), Colorado (11.07), Montana (7.9) and Wyoming; the Plains states of Nebraska and North Dakota; and the Southeastern states of Alabama (11.73), Louisiana (9.17) and Tennessee (12.33). The main reason for the improvement was seasonal job gains.
The states that endured the sharpest month-over-month increases in stress were Michigan, New Jersey (12.79), California, Connecticut (10.71) and Rhode Island (13.44). These states have struggled with high unemployment and foreclosures.
The most stressed counties with populations of at least 25,000 were concentrated in California and Nevada. Leading the way, as it has for more than a year, was Imperial County, Calif.(34.28), followed by Yuma County, Ariz. (30.6); Lyon County, Nev. (26.89); Nye County, Nev. (25.66); and Merced County, Calif. (25).
The least-stressed were Ward County, N.D. (3.16), followed by Burleigh County, N.D.(3.68); Brown County, S.D.(3.9); Buffalo County, Neb.(4.16); and Ford County, Kan. (4.47).”
Economic conditions likely will stay static until after the November elections. Then, the stock market may respond positively to the results and kick-start the economy. Come on, economy. Show your new grads some love!
Information Credit: Mike Schneider and Martin Crutsinger
Photo Credit: http://www.somaticvision.com/img/apple_green.jpg