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Katrina Index measures rebuilding efforts in storm-hit region

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The Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy group, this month launched the "Katrina Index" to gauge reconstruction efforts in Gulf Coast communities that were hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. The index, which comes three months after the storm hit, is intended to provide "the first in a series of monthly snapshots of economic and both short-term and long-term reconstruction trends," according to a Web site description. The index tracks about 50 economic and social indicators that measure the impact of rebuilding activity in Orleans Parish, the New Orleans metro area, Louisiana and Mississippi. Among the statistics tracked in the Katrina Index: Median existing home price; median household income; delinquency and foreclosure rates; average weekly wages; number of non-farm-employed people; number of mortgage originations, by type; number of hotel units being occupied; number of single-family homes; number of multifamily homes; number of owner-occupied homes; number of renter occupi...