In bankruptcy data, signs of better economy

I double-clutch these days whenever I see hopeful data on the economy. Nearly three years since the “recovery” began, Minnesota’s recovered only about half the jobs lost in the Great Recession. If you don’t have a job, things are not great.

Still, there are positive signs that shouldn’t be ignored. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis recently spotted some green shoots in the region’s bankruptcy data.

“Consumers and businesses in district states saw a fairly significant decline in the number of bankruptcy filings last year,” the Fed’s Ron Wirtz writes. ” Every state saw a drop…”

Here are the Fed’s charts:



Chapter 7 is a liquidation where the trustee sells the debtor’s assets.

Chapter 13 gives people the opportunity to save their homes from foreclosure while working out a repayment plan.

The best news in the data is that Chapter 7 bankruptcies in Minnesota and in the region ebbed in 2011 after swelling in the recession.

There’s still a long road back to “normal” levels of bankruptcy, a destination we might not see until Minnesota gets back all the jobs lost during the past four years.

Still, the Fed analysis shows the corner was turned in 2011. For now, that will do.

— Paul Tosto

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