The nation is stressed, particularly in states where rising unemployment and foreclosures are battering local economies, according to The Associated Press' monthly stress index.
Nearly 40 percent of the nation's counties are stressed, which is up from slightly more than one-third in October, according to the AP's stress index. The counties with the largest numbers of workers in real estate, hotel, and food services tend to have the sharpest increases in stress, according to the latest index reading.
AP's stress index calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on unemployment, foreclosure, and bankruptcy rates. The higher the score, the more stressed out an area is--with a score exceeding 11 considered stressed.
Overall, the latest stress index revealed the highest reading since August--the average county's score for November was 10.3, up from 9.9 in October.
Here is a list of the most stressed states, according to the index:
1. Nevada: 21.96
2. Florida: 17.14
3. California: 16.42
4. Michigan: 14.83
5. Arizona: 14.6
Meanwhile, the least stressed states were North Dakota (4.05), South Dakota (5.17), Nebraska (5.27), and Vermont (6.29).
Source: Unemployment and foreclosures push up economic stress, reversing trend,Associated Press (Jan. 12, 2011)