Don't Always Trust the Numbers - Real Recovery Will Take Time Skip to main content

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Don't Always Trust the Numbers - Real Recovery Will Take Time


The news sure sounds exciting, especially for those rebuilding after a bankruptcy or perhaps teetering on its edge. Economic statisticians, those in colorful bold boxes on morning stock report shows and even the country's newspapers, long considered a haven for everything depressing, are reporting that the worst of the recession is over. Many are going so far as to say that we're on our way up again.

Honestly, the numbers don't lie. But they don't tell the whole truth, either.

The last couple of months have seen the fewest number of jobs shed, according to those in Washington. National savings rates are holding steady and business productivity has climbed to its highest level in six years. Impressive.

Still, the impact of those numbers, where the results really count, has yet to be felt in the cul-de-sacs, unemployment offices and youth soccer field sidelines across the country. People are still struggling and bankruptcy filings are still on their way up. If you were to probe a bit deeper into the primetime diatribes or stumble upon the e-mail trains chugging back and forth between Wall Street and Washington, you would find a good deal of evidence that most of America remains quite scared about their financial future and that the recovery will take another year or so to materialize at home.

The last thing we want to do is give people a reason to be pessimistic. Our job, day-to-day, involves helping people put things into perspective by showing them a route out of economic uncertainty. However, in order to do that, we need to be honest with clients and others we advise. No one benefits from a skewed truth. We still see people cashing in retirement savings to pay bills. College funds are being depleted and houses being sold at deep discounts because of foreclosure fears. All of these things continue to go on in the midst of statistics that indicate we don't have to do those things anymore. The sun is rising, they say. The new dawn is coming.

We just want to advise you to remain cautious and to continue to do what is responsible. If you have made the decision to file bankruptcy but now harbor indecision because of things you heard on the news, stay honest with yourself. Trust in your decision and compare what you read and hear with reality. Is your situation really changing?

The July jobs report showed the unemployment rate dropped slightly. The numbers don't show, however, the fact that 400,000 people have dropped out of the labor force and were not counted as unemployed. Compounding that skewed stat is the fact that the number of people out of work 27 weeks or longer--a key benchmark in determining the rate at which people find new jobs--reached 5 million, a record.

The last 18 months, hopefully, have taught people how to save better and conserve more. Still, more saving means less spending, which translates to weaker retail, slower shipping channels and minimal economic growth. That's a tough concept for the country to balance. Unfortunately, tilting things in the favor of saving is rising unemployment and bankruptcy figures. With those numbers on the rise, the longer consumer spending will take to rebound--dates and numbers that the statisticians don't put in blogs and press releases.

If you're staring a pile of bills with the hopes that the economy is going to turn around tomorrow, you may be in for a rude awakening. Creditors across the nation are stepping up their collection efforts and turning up the heat on delinquent consumers. Consider bankruptcy as a real option to survive these tough times. Make the call today. In North Carolina, contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt at +1-919-646-2654.

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