Every month or so, I like to keep my bankruptcy blog readers up to date on the job market in our state. As a bankruptcy attorney serving clients in 38 Indiana counties with offices in Bloomington, Columbus, Anderson, and Indianapolis, I’m always on the lookout for news that has to do with the availability of jobs. That’s because, as I’ve often explained, having a regular source of income and benefits is extremely important to my clients who are rebuilding their financial lives following a bankruptcy filing. Clients who have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy probably already have regular jobs, or at least sources of regular income, but it’s important that layoffs not derail their bankruptcy debt repayment plans. Clients who have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, need to gain control of their regular finances and keep bills paid.

Overall, Indiana has lost about 12,000 manufacturing jobs this year. To put our situation in perspective, however, it’s important to mention that the 5.8% unemployment rate in Indiana is lower than that in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, or Ohio.

Negative news during the past month included the bankruptcy filing by Steve & Barry’s, a discount retailer in Washington Square and Lafayette Square shopping malls. Logistics companies, one of our strong suits in Indiana, are suffering from high fuel costs. Two trucking companies have filed bankruptcy, Tradewinds (in Arcadia) and Icon Transportation (in Indianapolis). Chrysler announced a plan to cut 1000 jobs. (While they say most of the effect will be on jobs in Michigan, the cut could affect Chrysler’s 670 salaried workers in Kokomo.) Indianapolis-based Davis Homes closed down for good, affecting not only their own employees, but possibly construction workers and suppliers from other firms as well.

On the good news front, Nestle is expanding its Anderson plant by 260,000 square feet, while Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is moving into a new building in the Franklin Tech Park. Meanwhile, in Terre Haute, N.E.W. Customer Service announced it would create 480 new jobs by 1011. In northern Indiana, Zimmer Corporation announced it will be needing at least 100 new workers. Right near where I live and shop, Nordstrom at Keystone Crossing Fashion Mall announced it will be hiring 250 workers to staff its new store.

Bankruptcy is all about rebuilding and fresh starts. Observing all the changes in the job market in Indiana, I need to remind myself that sometimes demolition needs to be done before new structures can rise. The advice I offer my clients – keep learning, seek training, plan the work and work the plan.