Bankruptcy filings soar in Massachusetts

The news is in — bankruptcy filings in Massachusetts and in the nation as a whole are going up. Way, way up.

The federal court system counted a 30 percent increase in bankruptcy filings in Massachusetts for the 12 months ending on March 31st. Nationally, a 27 percent increase was recorded.

What should anyone make of these numbers? From the point of view of a potential filer, there is a definite aspect of “misery loves company,” as there is undeniable comfort in knowing that you are not alone in a desperate situation, that there are abundant fellow-travelers on the same rocky road.

But by the same token, all of us fellow travelers are anxious for a rebound to the general economy, and record levels of bankruptcies are obviously not a great sign of a healthy market. While bankruptcy is an effective legal tool for getting a fresh financial start, it does nothing to improve the “income” side of anyone’s ledger, which is really where any future prosperity is rooted.

Perhaps there is a little gleam of optimism in the fact that Massachusetts is only ranked 35th for bankruptcies when population size is taken in to account; our recovery may well precede other harder hit regions. For instance, Nevada, with a small population heavily dependant on tourism and real-estate speculation, has been the hardest hit state of them all.


By Doug Beaton

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