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Florida reports high numbers of foreclosures, unemployment

Even though Florida was not as economically stressed in January as it was during the same time last year, the state as a whole is still struggling after a recession that decreased tourism and the need for new construction.

According to The Associated Press' monthly analysis, Florida is the fourth most economically stressed state in the nation. To arrive at this fact, The AP looked at the number of foreclosures, bankruptcy filings and unemployment numbers in each state and then assigned every state - and some counties within those states - an economic stress number between 1 and 100. Anything over 11 is considered stressed, and Florida was given a 16.36.

What's shocking about Florida being the fourth most stressed state is that it was also only one of three states to actually see positive economic numbers when looking at January as compared to December. When looking at this, sources point to seasonal trends in the state, with tourism being more popular in the winter than the summer. This means that as the summer months approach, Florida could start to see the economic stress get higher again.

Sources also claim that tourism goes hand-in-hand with construction, and that when tourism is down there is no need for new construction and then people from both industries end up out of work.

Foreclosures also continued to be a problem. For example, Osceola, which is a suburb of Orlando, currently is the seventh worst in the nation with a 5.7 percent foreclosure rate. In addition, the county's unemployment rate was at 12.7 percent.

When looking at The AP's monthly analysis - and also national foreclosure rates - the future for Florida residents is still unknown. For now the economy might be slightly better, but there is still a long ways to go to get back to pre-recession times. This means that as the year continues on, more people might find themselves needing to file for bankruptcy in order to take control of finances, and possibly even put a halt to a foreclosure.

Source: Seattle pi, "AP analysis: US economic stress dips in past year," Mike Schneider and Martin Crutsinger, 24 March 2011

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