Metro Atlantans are the fourth-most financially distressed big market residents in the U.S., largely because of the weak employment situation and ongoing housing problems here, CredAbility, the Atlanta-based non-profit credit counseling agency, reported.
The area had an overall score of 62.5 out of 100 on CredAbility’s quarterly Consumer Distress Index for the first three months of 2012, well behind the U.S. average of 69.9, and the 70 mark that indicates financial stability. Only Tampa-St. Petersburg, Detroit and Miami-Fort Lauderdale fared worse among 25 metro markets measured.
Atlanta scored poorly in the employment category, where it rated 49.5 compared to the national average of 59.4, and in housing, where it scored 51.7 compared to the national average of 68.
“Those are two big things, and in Atlanta they’re inextricably tied to each other,” said Mark Cole, CredAbility chief operating officer.
Metro Atlanta is now at about the same place in terms of financial distress as it was in the first quarter of 2011, the index shows. The area did improve somewhat from the fourth quarter of 2011.
Georgia did even worse, ranking as the second-most distressed state, better only than Nevada, although it also improved from the fourth quarter of last year.
Countrywide, the situation improved in the first quarter as U.S. households recorded the highest score on the index since the third quarter of 2008, thanks to more jobs, fewer mortgage delinquencies and better credit. Lower heating bills contributed to stronger household budgets and higher stock prices aided net worth.