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States with credit ratings in the dumps

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Does your state have crummy credit? I'm Doug Whiteman with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

You have a credit score that indicates whether you're a good credit risk. In a similar way, states have credit ratings that reflect their ability to pay debts and the strength of their economies. Six states earn lower ratings than most in the latest list from rating agency Standard and Poor's. California is in last place because of state budget issues, though S-and-P said last winter that the outlook for the Golden State has improved. One rung up from the bottom is Illinois, which has had stubborn budget problems and has heavy pension obligations. Then come three states that have been hit hard by various economic factors. There's Arizona, which has been slammed by the housing crisis; Kentucky, which has been weathering a loss of manufacturing jobs; and Michigan, which has felt fallout from the auto industry. The last of the sagging six is New Jersey, whose finances have been strained by pensions, high debt levels and generous unemployment benefits.

For more on states with credit in the dumps visit Bankrate.com. I'm Doug Whiteman.

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