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February Unemployment Rises, Bankruptcies Decline

Unemployment rises to 13.7%


March 21, 2002
Copyright © 2002 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

The unemployment rate rose to 13.7% in February 2002, 2.3% higher than February 2001 when it was 11.4%

According to the Department of Labor and Human Resources, there were 188,000 people unemployed on the island in February 2002, an increase of 37,000 compared to the same month in 2001.

At the same time, the total number of salaried, nonagriculture-sector employees on the island in February 2002 stood at 994,800, a decrease of 14,000 persons compared to the 1,008,800 employed in February 2001.

The manufacturing sector was down by 9,100 jobs compared to a year ago, falling from 138,700 in February 2001 to 129,600 last month. Government employment, on the other hand, increased from 274,500 in February 2001 to 277,900 in February 2002.

Both personal and business bankruptcies down

Both personal and business bankruptcy cases continued their downward trend in February, industry newsletter Boletin de Puerto Rico reported.

A total of 1,136 personal and commercial bankruptcies were filed islandwide last month, 8% lower than the 1,231 reported in February 2001. During the first two months of this year, a total of 2,103 bankruptcy cases have been filed, 10% lower than the 2,342 filed during the same period last year.

Of the 1,136 bankruptcies last month, 129 were filed by commercial firms, 7% fewer than the 140 commercial firms that filed for bankruptcy in February 2001.

While the number of bankruptcy cases is down, the amount of accumulated debt in bankruptcy filings for the first two months of the year stood at $188 million, $21 million or 12% higher than the $167 million in bankruptcy debt accumulated during the first two months of 2001.

So far this year, most of the bankruptcies filed (1,431 of 2,103) have been under Chapter 13. Also known as the wage-earner chapter, its provisions allow debtors to seek a court-sanctioned payment schedules to satisfy creditors while retaining their homes and cars, as well as protecting the credit and property loan cosigners.

The bulk of the remaining bankruptcies filed so far this year (653) were filed under Chapter 7, which is used primarily by individuals who wish to free themselves of debt. Chapter 7 can also be used by businesses that wish to liquidate and terminate their operations.

Meanwhile, 19 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings have been made so far this year. Chapter 11, also referred to as reorganization, is generally used for business reorganization, although an individual may also file under it. Chapter 11 allows a firm to continue business operations while proceeding to the desired goal of reorganization, which must meet statutory requirements.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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