As an Indiana bankruptcy attorney, I see my share of financial hardship and distress, much of which is brought on by small business failures and corporate layoffs in our state. I found my mood lifting as I read the end of year report put out by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

First of all, at 4.7% unemployment, Indiana actually had the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive month. We’ve been reading about plants closing and about jobs lost, all of this undeniably true, but the IEDC counts 22,627 new jobs committed in 2007.

Business owners can take heart as well, because according to Forbes in a July 2007 report quoted by IEDC, Indiana has the lowest business cost index in the Midwest, fourth lowest in the country. That statistic will be powerful in attracting new businesses to our state, as you may imagine, and so will the fact that Indiana ranks first in the Midwest in the Business Tax Climate Index

As I share this extremely hopeful report with you, I’m so very, very conscious that this does little to alleviate the pain being felt by many individuals and small business owners that I am seeing in my bankruptcy practice right now. People who are out of a job and who have families to support, owners of small businesses that just could not compete with everything going on in the economy now – they’re sitting across the table from me in my Indiana bankruptcy law office in Indianapolis, or perhaps the office I have in Columbus, or the ones in Bloomington or in Anderson, Indiana. These folks don’t have time to wait until all these wonderful new job opportunities start happening. Nevertheless, this IEDC report speaks to me and helps me speak hope to my bankruptcy clients.

So, as I help people create and then work through a strategy to deal with their financial problems and then to get back on their feet personally and with their business, I realize that their chances of rebuilding their lives are actually pretty good. Yes, there’s work to do before that happens, and quite a bit of raw courage needed to get through. But at the same time, I can honestly see – and help my bankruptcy clients see – better times ahead for Hoosiers!