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Bankruptcy filings reduced, but Tennessee still tops the list

The so-called "great recession" that occurred after the real estate bubble collapsed in 2007 caused untold pain to millions. Homes fell underwater, jobs were lost, many had to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy filings have always served as one form of economic measure of how things are going for the average American, and by that measure, it can be said that the economy is slowing improving.

The most recent statistics from the U.S. Courts finds that bankruptcy filings shrank to their lowest level in seven years. The total for fiscal 2014 was down 13 percent from last year, to just under one million filings. By comparison, in 2010 and 2011, there were 1.5 million and 1.4 million filings.

Tennessee, however, had the highest per capita filing rate for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, at 6 per 1000 people, which was twice the national average. This means there still are a lot of people in Tennessee who are struggling to recover from what was often the double blow of overwhelming debt combined with the loss of a job as the economy faltered.

Other states in the south, like Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia are also in the top ten for bankruptcy filings.

Add other financial problems, like a divorce or a health condition, and your personal finances can rapidly spiral out of control. If you are no longer making progress against the balance of your debts, and have seen the totals rise, you may need to consider bankruptcy.

While averages may be useful for economist debating national policy, what really matters is your finances., "Two New Signs the Economy Really Is Getting Better," Yuval Rosenberg, November 5, 2014

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