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Bankruptcies down in Florida, but financial times still tough

Even though the number of bankruptcy filings for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida is reportedly decreasing, experts are saying that the tough financial times are far from over, and that many will continue to struggle.

According to the district's chief judge, if the rest of the year follows the same trend as the first five months of 2011, then the total number for the district will most likely reached around 64,000 bankruptcy filings, which would be an approximate 3 percent decrease from the 66,618 filed in 2010.

However, even though unemployment and foreclosure rates are also down, the economy in Florida is still struggling and not the same as before the 2007 recession.

In general, the rest of the country went through the recession from 2007 to 2009, but in Florida it's believed that the recession lasted a bit longer and was actually not really over until mid-2009.

When looking at why Florida was hit harder and longer than most other states, economists point to the fact that those in the state had a much higher reliance on real estate, so when the housing market crashed many people were forced out of work.

When looking at the overall bankruptcy filing trends in Florida, the most common type of filing is a Chapter 7, followed by a Chapter 13 and Chapter 11.

Compared to other states, Florida also ranks among the top in terms of having the highest number of filings. When it comes to Chapter 7, Florida has the third highest number of filings, and the second highest number of Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. When it comes to Chapter 11 filings, the state ranks fourth highest in the country.

Source: Financial News & Daily Record, "Bankruptcies decline, Still 'difficult financial times'," Karen Brune Mathis, 17 June 2011

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