Two New Signs the Economy Really Is Getting Better
Business + Economy

Two New Signs the Economy Really Is Getting Better


Bill McBride at Calculated Risk points out a fresh indicator of just how far the economy has come from the depths of the Great Recession and the housing bust that left so many Americans underwater on their homes: The number of federal bankruptcy filings for fiscal 2014 (the 12 months ended September 30) was the lowest for any 12-month stretch since 2007.

Related: Can Consumers Carry the Economy?

Data released last week by the U.S. Courts system showed a total of 963,739 federal bankruptcy filings for the year, down 13 percent from fiscal 2013. Here’s a breakdown of business and non-business filings over the last eight years.

The court data also showed that Tennessee had the highest per capita rate of bankruptcy filings in 2014, with more than six Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings per 1,000 people, compared to a U.S. average of about three filings per 1,000 people. Georgia, Alabama, Illinois, Utah, Indiana, Nevada, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Wisconsin rounded out the top 10.

The states and territories with the lowest bankruptcy rates were the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, Alaska, Guam, North Dakota, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Hawaii, Texas, South Dakota, South Carolina, Montana, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Gallup pollsters on Wednesday reported one other positive sign on the economy: Fewer Americans now say they are struggling to afford food than at any time since 2008, even as food prices have risen. Gallup found that 17.2 percent of U.S. adults this year said they have not had enough money to buy food for themselves or their families at some point in the last 12 months — a number that, while still disturbingly high, is better than Gallup has found over the last five years. “This year's decrease in the percentage of Americans reporting a struggle to afford food is a positive sign that the economic recovery now could be reaching those who previously struggled to afford the basics,” Gallup’s Rebecca Riffkin wrote

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