West Virginia is 51st again, but this time it is reason to be proud. Now before you make a West Virginia joke about not knowing how many states there is in the USA, for the purposes of this data they included Washington, D.C. as a state. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation collected data from the Bureau of Labor, United States Department of Agriculture, and RealtyTrac to rank the states according to their "economic distress" by housing foreclosures, unemployment compensation, and food stamp participation.
The nationwide average foreclosure rate is 1 in every 488 households, in WV it is 1 in every 25,817 households. Nevada and Florida have the highest foreclosure rates with 1 in every 76 households in NV, and 1 in every 173 households. Part of this reason could be that we have one of the highest number of households owned without a mortgage. Bluefield, WV is actually the number one city for homes owned outright with no mortgage.
West Virginia had the smallest increase of monthly unemployment claims tied with Wyoming and North Dakota at three-tenths of a percent increase for December 2007 to December 2008. Nevada is in the top 3 for unemployment increases preceded by Rhode Island and North Carolina. West Virginia's economy relies largely on the coal industry, manufacturing, and tourism to sustain its economy. Coal prices have been very good for the last few years and many people who visit WV decide to buy second homes here because of the beautiful mountains and our friendly Southern hospitality.
The last measure they used was the change in monthly Food Stamp participation in October 2007 to October 2008. Texas had the largest increase at over 30% increase followed by Florida at almost a 26% increase. West Virginia was tied with North Dakota at 44th place with a 4.2% increase.
West Virginia's overall "economic distress" rank was dead last. For once something to be proud of for finishing last.
On a side note, Toyota built a manufacturing plant in WV several years ago in Buffalo, WV and it is consistently their most productive plant. West Virginia is a great place to live, work, and play. We consistently see home prices steadily increase and have had one of the best economies for several years and even during the 2002 recession.
Thanks for reading and be sure to leave your comments and questions.