There may be lots of talk about recovery out there, but the AP Economic Stress Index just surpassed the March 2009 peak.
The AP's Economic Stress Index found that the average county's score in December was 10.8. That's a sharp jump from the 10.2 reading in November. The previous worst reading since the recession began in December 2007 was 10.3 in March 2009.
The index calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on a county's unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. A higher score indicates more economic stress. Under a rough rule of thumb, a county is considered stressed when its score exceeds 11.
Nearly 45 percent of the nation's 3,141 counties were deemed stressed in December. That compares with less than 39 percent in the previous month.
Nevada was again the most economically distressed state in December, with a Stress score of 21.08. It had the nation's worst foreclosure and bankruptcy rates and second-worst unemployment rate.
It was followed by Michigan (17.43), California (16.25), Florida (15.78) and Illinois (14.12). All except California saw their Stress score rise from November to December.
North Dakota (4.99) was again the least-stressed state in December. Next were South Dakota (5.47), Nebraska (5.63), Vermont (7.14) and Montana (7.71). Still, each saw its Stress score worsen from November to December.
More proof that the only recovery has been on Wall Street.