This morning, Credability.org (the former CCCS of Greater Atlanta), one of the nation’s leading credit counseling agencies, released its CredAbilityConsumer Distress Index for the third quarter of 2010.
Overall, the country received a 64.4 Consumer Distress Index Score. A score under 70 indicate severe consumer financial distress. according to the Index, the U.S. has been in economic distress for the past 9 quarters.
Are you surprised to find out that most of the U.S. is under severe financial stress? It shouldn’t. Not with unemployment running at 9.6 percent, and about 18 percent if you throw in those who are underemployed or who have just thrown up their hands and given up.
What surprised me most about the Index is which states are the most severely stressed: Michigan and Mississippi.
It’s easy to understand why Michigan is in the hole (with a 58.11 Consumer Distress Index Score). The entire state has been walloped by the near collapse of the auto industry.
Mississippi (58.76 Index Score) seems to have suffered tremendously from the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, and perhaps it never really regained its footing after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It’s clear that folks there are suffering too.
The CredAbility Consumer Distress Index also looks at various factors that contribute to a region or state’s financial distress, including employment, housing, credit, household budget, and net worth. When it comes to employment, the entire country (except for New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) is in extreme consumer distress, with an Index score of 57.3 out of 100. If you look at the net worth Index, nearly the entire country is in the red.
See the entire release and maps here.
What does this tell us? Everyone wants to be the first to call the end of the Recession, or whatever we’re in now that feels like a Recession. But when you dig into the data, you discover that there’s a lot of financial pain everywhere.
Or, as my colleague Eric Belsky, who runs the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, puts it: There are lots of shades of lousy out there. Are you feeling it? Is someone you know feeling it? Are you worried it’s going to happen to you?
Please leave your comments on the blog.
I’m scared. After my divorce, I returned to school to earn my teaching certifications. I figured it was safe, secure and had benefits. Now, as I’m nearing completion, teaching jobs are few and far between. The fallback jobs, Walmart/Target, are filled by well educated and highly qualified people. People are afraid. I’m afraid. Unless I find a job within 6 months of graduation, I’ll be another old lady living on the streets.
Currently employed but ever payday could be my last. Very worried!!!!
What wll it take to get Congress to STOP everything…..and REALLY deal/solve this crisis?
I find reading Ilyce’s newsletter very discouraging. Like many, I’m not working, trying to look for a job and to make a go of it. But the newsletter just makes me that much more depressed and discouraged. Being constantly reminded of how bad it is doesn’t make me feel any better, it just ruins my morning.
Connie: I’m so sorry to hear that your financial life is upside down and that my newsletter, which I write to inform you on what’s happening, has been depressing. I find that most of the media always makes so much of the tiniest things and right now, there isn’t a whole lot of good news out there. But next week, on Thanksgiving (so, the newsletter might come out on Wednesday or Friday), I’ll talk about some of the bright spots, as well as some great deals for Black Friday. Thanks for the feedback. It’s very valuable, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that 2011 is the year you find your financial footing and get a great new job. Keep me updated, okay?