The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

December 13, 2010
Economic 'stress index' improves in nation, state and region

The nation's economic condition in October, as measured by the Associated Press' Stress Index, improved to its best level in 18 months.

AP launched the index in 2007 to track the overall effect of the recession on states and counties. It takes into consideration unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. Scores run from one to 100, and the higher the score, the greater the economic stress. A place with a rating of over 11 is considered financially challenged.

In October California (16.01) fell to third place in the list of the most stressed states, giving up the second place slot to Florida (16.56) which struggles with a rising foreclosure rate. Nevada (21.68) continues to lead the pack by a large margin.

The most stressed county in the United States was California's Imperial County (33.26). It did show a 2.39 point improvement since September. In our region, all but Yolo County saw a monthly lessening of economic stress. The table below displays the latest figures, the monthly change and the pre-recession levels.

Associated Press Stress Index
Place Oct-10 Change from Sep-10 Oct-07
California 16.01 -0.13 7.23
Sacramento Co. 17.81 -0.33 9.20
Placer Co. 16.30 -0.39 7.37
El Dorado Co. 15.97 -0.23 6.82
Yolo Co. 14.80 0.13 6.86


AP's color-coded stress map provides comprehensive data for all states and counties and gives a good visual overview of which regions continue to be hit the hardest by the economic downturn.  

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