Georgia continues to be more financially distressed than the nation as a whole, according to a quarterly study released Wednesday.
For the fourth quarter of 2010, the Peach State was the eighth worst on the Consumer Distress Index compiled by CredAbility, an Atlanta-based nonprofit credit counseling service.
“Two factors that make Georgia’s consumers among the country’s most distressed are significantly higher underemployment and higher mortgage delinquency,” CredAbility spokesman John McCosh said in an email to the AJC.
The group’s index tracks the financial condition of average U.S. households in all 50 states. Michigan posted the lowest score and North Dakota the highest.
The study found that rising stock prices helped to push up consumers’ net worth, CredAbility said in a news release. But lower scores in three of the index’s other categories — employment, housing and household budget –- drove down the nation’s overall index in the fourth quarter.
For the fourth quarter of last year, American households scored a 64.3 on the index’s 100-point scale — down slightly from 64.4 in the third quarter.
A score below 70 indicates financial distress, CredAbility said. The average U.S. consumer has been in financial distress for 10 consecutive quarters, the organization said.
Georgia’s fourth-quarter score was 61.26 percent — up a hair from 61.24 percent in the third quarter.
Two different types of families appear to be emerging in America, CredAbility said.
“The family with one or two stable jobs is seeing their investments grow again and is beginning to spend more of their household income,” said Mark Cole, chief operating officer of CredAbility. “But families that have lost a job or seen other income sources reduced … have experienced increased financial distress. Unfortunately, millions of families are in the second category.”
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- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat
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