Is there any surprise in any of these headlines?
The number of U.S. businesses and individuals declaring bankruptcy is rising with a vengeance amid the recession, despite a three-year-old federal law that made it much tougher for Americans to escape their debts, an Associated Press analysis found.
"There's no end in sight," said bankruptcy lawyer Bryan Elliott of Hickory, N.C., who is working seven days a week and scheduling prospective clients a month in advance. "To be doing this well and having this much business, it is depressing. It's not a laugh-a-minute job."
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana, which includes Indianapolis, logged 2,936 bankruptcies last month. That was a heady increase from a year earlier and nearly three times the level of 2006, when federal law was changed to make filing more difficult.
Indianapolis bankruptcy attorney Mark Zuckerberg noticed a marked uptick in January. People hoped for a good Christmas, then at the start of the year were hit with bills, bad economic news and other realities.
Most have lost jobs and their health insurance, Zuckerberg says. As a result, a medical problem tips them into bankruptcy.