S. Carolina scores third worst in May economic stress test

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South Carolina, California and Michigan suffered the most financial pain in May as unemployment, home foreclosures and bankruptcies rose, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of economic stress in more than 3,100 U.S. counties.

The latest results of the AP's Economic Stress Index show the average county's stress score hit 10 in May, from 9.7 in April. In May 2008, the average score was 6.2.

The AP calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on each county's unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. The higher the score, the higher the economic stress.

Under a rough rule of thumb, a county is considered stressed when its score tops 11. In May, 36 percent of the counties scored 11 or higher, up from 34 percent in April.

South Carolina counties' scores averaged 15, the third-highest in the latest analysis, behind California and Michigan, whose scores averaged 16 and 15.9.

California has been battered by the housing bust, and Michigan has absorbed the brunt of the auto industry crisis.

"And South Carolina is a little bit of everything," said Sean Snaith, economics professor at the University of Central Florida. "Manufacturing and construction jobs have been hard hit in the state."

The counties of at least 25,000 residents that suffered the sharpest increases in stress scores over the past year were manufacturing communities: Williams County, Ohio; Elkhart County, Ind.; Huntingdon County, Pa.; Howard County, Ind.; Union County, S.C.; and Noble, Ind.

AP's analysis also found that foreclosure rates climbed over the past year in areas hit hardest by the housing crisis: Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada and metro Atlanta.


View the complete interactive map of economic data on more than 3,100 counties in the United States at http://chronicle.augusta.com/stressmap.

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patriciathomas 07/07/09 - 06:40 am
Sanford's attempt to pay down

Sanford's attempt to pay down the state debt would have gone a long way toward relieving stress and improving the state's credit rating.

Captain Awesome
Captain Awesome 07/07/09 - 08:59 am
And it would have kept SC's

And it would have kept SC's state budget from growing huge.

Too bad he couldn't keep his head straight.

The Knave
The Knave 07/07/09 - 12:07 pm
Well, here comes

Well, here comes patricathomas with another dopey, uninformed, and pathetic attempt at praising the worst SC governor in memory (and that's a bad crowd with which to be associated, since there have been some prime dodos occupying that office). The fact is that the AP's "stress ratings" have nothing to do with a state's debt. "The AP calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on each county's unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates, within each state. The higher the score, the higher the economic stress." Do you understand that, patriciathomas? The stress scores are based on (1) unemployment; (2) forcelosures; (3) bankruptcies. patriciathomas and the Luv Guv are apparently soul mates. Both are confused ideologues, under the heavy influence of right-wing-nut dogma and saddled with obvious cerebral maladies. A symptom of the illness is that reality is whatever one wishes it to be. Facts are to be used or selectively ignored to comport with the deranged image of reality. The Luv Guv, until SC Supreme Court intervention, was determined to reject the economic stimulus that was designed to mitiagate problems with, guess what? (1) Unemployment, (2) foreclosures, (3) bankruptcies.

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