Business Bankruptcy

April 10, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 14
Are U.S. bankruptcy laws effective?
By Barbara Mantel


Signage for the Circuit City going-out-of-business sale (Getty Images/Mark Ralston)
Circuit City, the nation's second-largest electronics retailer, announced in January it was going out of business after an unsuccessful effort to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. It had 34,000 employees and more than 700 stores. (Getty Images/Mark Ralston)

Some of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history have occurred in the past seven months, led by Lehman Brothers investment bank and Washington Mutual savings and loan. The Obama administration is now threatening General Motors and Chrysler with a government-managed bankruptcy if they don't come up with an aggressive restructuring plan in short order. While the two automakers' woes have captured the headlines, thousands of other firms — many in retail and real estate — are quietly trying to avoid bankruptcy court. Last year the number of bankruptcies rose more than 50 percent over the previous year — to more than 43,000. Some experts say the government needs to step in and lend money to bankrupt companies while other critics say Congress made emerging from bankruptcy almost impossible for some companies when it amended the Bankruptcy Code in 2005.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 06, 2020  Universal Basic Income
Mar. 18, 2016  The Gig Economy
Mar. 06, 2012  Youth Unemployment
Jul. 31, 2009  Straining the Safety Net
Apr. 10, 2009  Business Bankruptcy
Mar. 13, 2009  Vanishing Jobs
Apr. 25, 2003  Unemployment Benefits
Jan. 21, 1994  Worker Retraining
Sep. 09, 1988  Help Wanted: Why Jobs Are Hard to Fill
Mar. 18, 1983  The Youth Unemployment Puzzle
Dec. 24, 1982  Federal Jobs Programs
May 28, 1982  America's Employment Outlook
Jun. 27, 1980  Unemployment Compensation
Oct. 14, 1977  Youth Unemployment
Jul. 11, 1975  Underemployment in America
Dec. 16, 1970  Unemployment in Recessions
Mar. 05, 1965  Unemployment Benefits in Times of Prosperity
Apr. 03, 1964  Overtime Pay Rates and Unemployment
Feb. 01, 1961  Unemployment and New Jobs
Jan. 07, 1959  Lag in Employment
Apr. 16, 1958  Emergency Jobless Aid
May 16, 1956  Lay-Off Pay Plans
Nov. 12, 1953  Jobless Compensation in Boom and Recession
Feb. 25, 1949  Defenses Against Unemployment
Jul. 30, 1945  Full Employment
Nov. 25, 1940  Unemployment Compensation
Jul. 10, 1939  Problem of the Migrant Unemployed
May 19, 1936  Unemployment and Recovery
Sep. 02, 1931  Public Employment Exchanges
Aug. 19, 1929  The Stabilization of Employment
Feb. 21, 1928  The Employment Situation in the United States
Jan. 23, 1926  Unemployment Insurance in the United States