Marketplace Scratch Pad

Smiles in Nebraska, frowns in Oregon

Scott Jagow Apr 7, 2009

Which state is best weathering the recession? The Happiness Index from MainStreet.com says Nebraska. Oregon ranks dead last.

The index incorporates household income, debt, employment and foreclosures. The website says it’s a “fresh take on the old and tired” Misery Index, which is simply the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate.

I don’t put much stock in any of these indexes, but with Nebraska at the top, Kansas number 2 and Iowa number 3, it does corroborate something I mentioned last week — that the Midwest is an economic “zone of sanity.” Oregon has high unemployment and a high number of foreclosures. Not surprisingly, others states crushed by the housing bust ranked near the bottom: California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona.

Despite the results, I’d much rather live in Oregon than Nebraska. No offense, Cornhuskers. Oregon has the stunning coastline thing going for it. The Oregon coast is just about my favorite place in the world. Maybe I could find a nice foreclosed beach house?

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