The nation's economic stress inched up in December because higher foreclosures outweighed lower unemployment, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis.
Bankruptcy levels remained largely unchanged from November. But the depressed housing market took a toll. Foreclosure rates rose in 33 states, most sharply in Utah, New Jersey, Nevada and Arizona.
Most analysts expect the economy to gain momentum this year, in part because of a tax-cut package that lowers workers' Social Security taxes and puts more money in their paychecks. But two straight months of higher stress to end 2010 marked a setback after the nation's economic pain had eased since the start of last year, the AP Economic Stress Index showed.
The AP's index calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on...read full article.