While in grad school, I covered the bankruptcy beat for about six months. It was during the time when there was excess liquidity, or cash, in most markets – the stock market, real estate market and so on. And many of the bankruptcy professionals I talked to said that their business improves when the economy declines. Many of them seemed to be really available for interviews. So I imagine now they’re starting to get really busy.

Anyway, consumer bankruptcies rose 48 percent in July from a year earlier. They were up nearly 14 percent from June of this year, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. In July, 94,124 consumer bankruptcies were filed. Many (32.5 percent) of them were Chapter 13 filings, which allows the consumer to work out a payment plan and often keep his or her home.

“The most recent uptick in bankruptcy filings reflects growing stress on the household finances of U.S. families,” said Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “We expect bankruptcies to continue to surge past 1 million new cases by year end.”

Aug. 8, 2008.