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Monday, Dec 4, 2023


By CHRIS DENINA Staff Reporter San Fernando Valley businesses and residents continued to file for bankruptcy protection in large numbers during July, according to this month’s Valley Econowatch. Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy filings rose to 1,315, up 9.0 percent from June. Chapter 11 (reorganization) bankruptcy filings marked an even sharper jump, up 15.4 percent from June. But the greatest increase was the 317 Chapter 13 (personal) bankruptcy filings for July, up 20.1 percent from June. Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Economic Development Corp, said the rise in bankruptcies is not all bad news because it demonstrates that people are confident enough in the economy to take risks, even if those risks don’t always pan out. The figures reflect that “lots of people have gone into business for themselves, which is a good risk,” Kyser said, citing that people are optimistic and confident in the economy, and more willing to take chances and invest in starting a business. But there are drawbacks, he added. “Most people, when they want to get into business, they think it’s a piece of cake, but it’s not it’s stale bread.” Small retailers tend to have an especially tough time. People should be better prepared for starting a small business, Kyser said, emphasizing that these entrepreneurs should take more time to analyze a business plan and be “ultra conservative” because “people get in and find it’s tougher than they thought.” The healthy glow of the Valley economy has apparently lulled some people into a false sense of security, causing them to sometimes get in over their heads. “They expect it to be more positive,” he said. Valley bankruptcies have been steadily rising over the past two years. And the July figures, while up from June, are up even more when compared with July of last year. July’s Chapter 7 filings for the Valley are 24.4 percent above the year-ago level. Chapter 11 filings are up 36.4 percent, and Chapter 13 filings are up by 20.5 percent. Kyser said the sharp jump in bankruptcy filings will likely begin leveling off and then declining in the months ahead as the economy continues its recovery. “I would be surprised if they continue to run high,” said Kyser. “If the number remains high, it’s just a sad footnote, but it’s not a sign of bad news for the overall economy.”

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