The Economic Innovation Group recently issued an interactive map featuring a Distressed Communities Index.  The more the map looks like a bad case of measles, the sicker the neighborhoods are, as measured by some weighting of housing vacancy, unemployment, absence of middle-class markers.  My zip code has a "distress score" of 64.8, ranking as the 323rd most distressed county among 1129 state zip codes.

The housing market remains flat.  With the El Nino influenced weather pattern (or is it climate chaos?) it's possible to go for a walk around the neighborhood in shorts last Sunday and then have to put on extra layers Wednesday and Thursday.

Since I took this picture, the owner of the house at right has since installed a deck, and there are several dogs and kids enjoying the yard.  My trees are much bigger.

On the other hand, many of the houses along that street, and elsewhere in the neighborhood, are empty, sometimes for a long time as evidenced by wind-strewn trash in the yard, or fading paint on the woodwork (the decorative headboards on the fronts of many of these houses are apparently not durable.)

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