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AP Says California Has 15 of 20 Most Economically Stressed Counties in the Nation

February 11, 2011

The Associated Press has come out with a new listing showing what some Californians and our own San Bernardino County bankruptcy lawyers already knew: the recession is not over in parts of the Inland Empire. An Associated Press article dated Feb. 8 analyzes economic stress indicators around the country and concludes that 15 of the country's most stressed counties are in California. In Southern California, that includes Riverside County at number 18, Kern County at number 16 and Imperial County at a disturbing number one. The rankings apply only to counties with at least 25,000 residents and are based on rates of unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy filings, using December numbers.

The December rankings were affected most by foreclosure rates, which rose in 33 states. Bankruptcy filings stayed basically steady, the AP said, and unemployment actually lowered a bit. Economic stress eased in California and 44 other states, but California did have the third-highest ranking for economic stress as a state, at 16.36. The AP blamed the trouble for California in part on its heavy employment in real estate, a problem that also affected neighboring Arizona and Nevada. Economists said they expected the economy to improve in 2011 thanks to a tax cut that will allow more people to be able to spend on nonessentials. In addition to those named above, the most economically stressed counties included non-coastal Central and Northern California counties; Yuma County, Ariz., which abuts Imperial County; and counties in Nevada and Florida.

Our Fullerton individual bankruptcy attorneys don't exactly believe this is good news - but it's an improvement over previous years. When unemployment was at its peak, it was actually driving foreclosures - the bankruptcy filers literally had no income to pay their mortgages. Unemployment is still high, but if economists are right that it will continue to ease this year, that would be good news for the housing market as well as for individuals' overall ability to meet their financial needs. More stable incomes will help stabilize the housing market, hopefully keeping prices from dropping or stagnating. It would also be good news for bankruptcy numbers, since having an income makes it much easier to avoid filing for bankruptcy.

Howard Law PC represents clients who are pursuing bankruptcy as a way to handle debts they no longer believe are sustainable. Our Los Angeles consumer bankruptcy lawyers start each case by sitting down and reviewing the client's finances to ensure bankruptcy is their best choice. If it is, we help guide them through the process of choosing the type of bankruptcy that best suits their needs - Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 - and the right bankruptcy exemptions. As soon as we file, we can also help clients get rid of aggressive or harassing creditors who will then be barred from contacting clients further by the automatic stay. Bankruptcy is a hard choice and sometimes an emotional one, but our experienced advocates can help you get the most benefit out of it and avoid mistakes that could set your case back instead.

If you're considering bankruptcy but you're not sure it's the right choice, you're invited to call Howard Law for a free, confidential evaluation of your case. To set up a meeting, send us an email or call us today at 1-800-872-5925.