Here’s a scary San Jose Mercury News graphic showing the steep step-ladder up of bankruptcies filed in San Jose Bankruptcy Court from 2006 to 2010. The 13,366 new cases filed in 2010 set a record.

When you have a job, it’s easy to forget the level of financial distress that many people are still under. From the Merc:

Those filing for bankruptcy range from the once well-off caught up in the grip of the recession, to those who were barely getting by and now find themselves unable to do even that. Many filers are people whose careers careened off the tracks as layoffs or cutbacks in hours mounted during the year, or small-business owners who have seen their cash flow plummet.

Cathy Moran, a Mountain View bankruptcy lawyer, said she’s seeing people “who may now be back to work at a third to a half of what they were making before, and people in their 50s who have lost jobs and have no expectation they will ever work in their field again.”

In a desperate effort to stay afloat and avoid bankruptcy, many people are trying to make a hobby or second skill into a business.

“Horse trainer, hair dresser, selling stuff on eBay — you name it,” said Norma L. Hammes, whose San Jose practice deals with consumer and small-business bankruptcies and who is also a past NACBA president. “It’s anything they can figure out that they might be able make a few dollars from. They’ve got to eat.” Full article

The court’s Oakland division, which covers Alameda and Contra Costa counties, also set a record, the Merc reports.

San Jose Area Bankruptcies Set Record in 2010 14 January,2011Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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