Earlier this week the American Bankruptcy Institute announced the 2008 year-end total number of consumer bankruptcy filings: 1,064,927.

In 2007, 801,840 bankruptcy filings were made.

“Consumers are under great financial stress, with no immediate end in sight,” said Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “We expect the upward spike in personal bankruptcies to continue in 2009.”

The number of consumer bankruptcies filed in December 2008 declined 15 percent compared with November 2008. Chapter 13 cases filed in December were at 32 percent, down from the number filed in November. Chapter 13 allows consumers to obtain payment plans to pay down debt and it may be a way to keep a home.

The number of bankruptcies filed is one economic indicator that we can look at the gauge the health of the American economy. Usually, when the economy is in trouble, bankruptcy attorneys and the corporate turnaround industry see their work and income increase.

Jan. 8 2009