The recession
Stress index shows we’re hurting less
Sure, times are tough, perhaps the toughest many people have seen in their lifetimes. But, like your mother probably told you, things could always be worse. And, indeed, they are much worse in other parts of the U.S.
Hard to believe, but we are fairly sailing through this recession compared to the really hard-hit parts of the country.
The Associated Press has created a sort of misery index, a single score attached to every county in the U.S. It combines the unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies into a single comparable number.
Our “economic stress” number for Androscoggin County in May was 9.08, which is about twice as high as it was in October of 2007. Oxford County had a stress score of 12.39 and Franklin County was pegged at 11.31. The highest county in Maine was Piscataquis at 14.76., and the lowest was Cumberland at only 6.57.
But our numbers pale in comparison to Oscoda, Mich., which is suffering along with a 22.65 stress score. Or Imperial County, Calif., where the stress level is 30.16, or Lee County, Fla. where it is 19.99.
The unemployment rate in Androscoggin County was about 9 percent last month. It was 22.65 in Oscoda, 19.99 in Lee and 30.16 percent in Imperial County.
About .04 percent of homes in Androscoggin County were in foreclosure in May. Compare that to 6.88 percent of homes in Osceola County, Fla., or 8.25 percent in Clark County, Nev.
About .71 percent in business were in bankruptcy in Androscoggin County in May. That’s compared to 3.57 percent in Shelby County, Tenn.
Yes, it’s tough here. But it’s worse elsewhere. Let’s hope things improve soon for everybody.

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