Foreclosures cause U.S. stress level to increase

In recent years, many Americans have defaulted on their monthly mortgage payments due to prolonged unemployment, charge offs and credit debt, and as a result, have been facing foreclosure from their lenders.

According to The Associated Press, this continued financial turmoil caused the nation’s overall economic stress to rise during December, offsetting recent gains in unemployment.

The AP’s index calculates the national stress level on a scale from 1 to 100, based on a number of factors including foreclosure, bankruptcy rates and unemployment, with a score higher than 11 indicating stress. The average county’s score in December was 10.4, up slightly from those observed in November when this rate was 10.3.

However, analysts indicate the recent tax deal may have helped ease the stress level of some consumers.

“The tax deal provides the economy with some significant juice that will lead to better growth, better job creation and lower unemployment,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told The Associated Press.

Overall, economic stress decreased in every state except Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Nevada and Utah, all of which have been experiencing a high number of foreclosures in recent months.