I’m always scouring the newspapers for news about money matters. Goodness knows, there’s been no lack of economic news in the past few months, and it sometimes seems as if it’s all bad news. Nevertheless, as a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana, I keep reading. I’m interested in learning all I can about developments in the national economy as well as here in the Hoosier state, because that helps me offer the best advice and information to my Indiana bankruptcy clients.
I was very encouraged last week, because, in the space of two days, I found four or five items of really encouraging business news. The first bright spot had to do with Boeing, and I was particularly happy about that, since we’d been reading so much bad news about the airline industry. Boeing is one of the thirty stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is used as a benchmark for the overall stock market. The company reported a whopping 38% jump in first-quarter earnings.
In the area of insurance, an industry that had been hard hit with weather-related disasters, there was good news as well. Liberty Mutual announced it was acquiring Safeco, thus creating the country’s fifth largest property-casualty insurer. Ford Motor Company had no less than a $100 million profit in its first quarter, very welcome news in another industry that’s been wrestling with all sorts of challenges.
The good news was not confined to just these companies, either. The U.S. Labor Department data showed that weekly unemployment claims had actually dropped from the time the last report was issued.
I’m not saying we’re out of the woods, by any means. Even though some companies are creating new jobs, others are downsizing. It doesn’t help to know profits are up at headquarters if you or your spouse was part of a layoff. Dealing every day as I do with my Indiana bankruptcy clients’ financial problems, I know that job loss is a key factor in bankruptcy. Not everyone who is downsized can move quickly into a position with one of the new companies moving into our state. But one thing that the bankruptcy safety net is designed to do is buy time for people. Sometimes that relief from debt buys the opportunity for job retraining, setting the stage for individuals and families to rebuild their financial lives.