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National Economic Stress Level Rose Slightly in December

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National Economic Stress Level Rose Slightly in DecemberManufacturing jobs began returning to the economy in December, and bankruptcies stayed flat from the previous month, but the continuing threat of foreclosure actions caused consumers to feel more economic strife in the final month of 2010, according to the latest monthly poll from The Associated Press. Overall, December’s consumer stress rating climbed slightly to a score of 10.4, up from 10.3 in November. Typically, an 11 rating is viewed as “stressed,” and 40 percent of all counties nationwide met or exceeded that level.

“Bankruptcies and foreclosures are the side effects of the damage from the real estate bust,” Georgia State University economist Rajeev Dhawan told the news service. “First, you have the real estate problem, and then it’s going to spill over into bankruptcies and foreclosures.”

[Related: HAMP Fails to Save Homeowners from Foreclosure]

The most stressed states continued to be those that experienced the greatest foreclosure rates, the report said. Nevada’s rating led the nation at 22.56, with Florida (16.47) and California (16.36) also in the top three. However, of those three, only Nevada’s actually increased from one month to the next. Meanwhile, the states that saw the least stress were once again in the Midwest, with North Dakota (4.65), Nebraska (5.38) and South Dakota (5.69) experiencing the fewest problems.

Millions of consumers nationwide received some sort of foreclosure notice in 2010, though thousands may have been improperly issued as a result of the robosigning controversy that recently came to light.

[Resource: Improving Credit and Refinancing a Mortgage After Bankruptcy]

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