Economic stress in Houston area drops

While the levels have improved, the nation's economic stress remains high.The Associated Press' economic stress index dropped in February both across the country and in the local real estate market, which could allow more families the economic flexibility to buy Houston homes.The index combines data on unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies as a measure of economic trouble.According to the index, the national economic stress level during the month was 11, which is down from 11.2 the month before and 11.8 in February 2010. A score of 11 or above indicates that the country is stressed.The economic stress level in Harris County dropped to 10.01 during the month, which is down from 10.51 the month before and down slightly from a year ago. The biggest difference in the local numbers was the unemployment rate, which dropped to 8.4 percent.By contrast, the most stressed county nationwide was Imperial County, California, with a mark of more than 30.Analysts also say that the stress level should continue to drop in the coming months as the job market improves. The national unemployment rate recently dropped to 8.8 percent – the lowest mark it had reached in two years.Courtesy of 2M Realty News

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