Bankruptcy filings are often used as a gauge to measure some aspects of the American economy. As filings increase, it is assumed to be a symptom of individuals encountering hard times as they lose hours or jobs and they no longer have the income to pay their bills. When bankruptcy filings fall, it is presumed to be a sign that the economy is improving and that people are having an easier time finding work and experiencing wage growth.
If those are valid assumptions, then the economy must be improving as bankruptcy filings have slowed their fall, leading one observer to note that if we have not reached the bottom, we must be very close. Bankruptcy filings for the last 12-month period have reached the lowest number seen since 2007.
2007 was immediately before the collapse of the real estate market triggered by the financial improprieties of the large investment banks. Those “innovative” financial instruments came close to causing a collapse of the worldwide economy. As it was, the Great Recession caused an enormous jump in bankruptcy filings, as millions of people were thrown out of work, and all too often, their homes.
Of course, the economy is ultimately personal. If you do not have a job or have suffered other financial hardships, national indicators mean little. Thousands of individuals in Wisconsin still struggle to deal with the after-effects of the recession, job losses and foreclosures or simply having all the equity in their homes wiped out.
The recession has left many who live on the edge, easy prey to any work-related setbacks, divorce or medical emergencies. If your bills have become overwhelming, it really doesn’t matter if not as many people will accompany you to the bankruptcy courthouse. When you need true debt relief, bankruptcy is the one solution that offers genuine relief.