A month ago I posted a bit on bankruptcies as an indicator of the overall health of the Californian economy.
I've picked up some stats closer to home. It seems the worse is almost over--although that's not really saying much.
In a time when municipalities are mulling options to get rid of substantial debt amidst declining revenues, people like you and me are the hardest hit. The consumers, families really, are sometimes pushed too far (sometimes on their own doing, let's face it, Americans like their 'stuff' and sometimes we don' tneed as much as we buy) and have to declare bankruptcy.
Most don't make enough to qualify for repayment over 3-5 years (Chapter 13) and so most opt for Chapter 7. Every since the law changed in 2005 (when it was easy peezy lemon squeezy to declare Chapter 7), the numbers have been on a steady increase.
Every quarter since 2007 has seen an increase in filings. Check out the graph below on Chapter 7 increases.
So it's all doom and gloom right? Now quite.
It seems that LA is finally at the bottom and clawing their way back to up. Some cities in California have even started to see a decline in filings. LA is close, and by mid-2011 the worst of the 2008 credit hit will be over IMO. That doesn't mean that everything will be rosy. Far from, in fact the numbers are still sky high..... but the good news is these numbers are slowly declining.
The recovery will take years upon years, and hopefully we've learned a lessong or two on unnecessary consumer debt along the way.
I'm not naive either, some of us got hoodwinked with bad mortgages, couple that with losing your job, and yea, you get the picture of financial ruin.
But it seems that LA and co., are pulling themselves out of the worse. Now let's cross our fingers we can kickstart a recovery to prevent some big dominoes from falling, namely cities who are teetering on collapse and just need a slight breeze to knock them down..... (weak metaphor but I'm trying here.)
What about you/ Have you noticed housing sales increase? More economic activity? More jobs?
FYI, the data used in this post was compiled by San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Cecilia who was kind enough to allow us to use it here. Her data was garnered from RAND California, a stats company.