|Nick Ford • Economist
|May 1, 2015
|Personal bankruptcy numbers showdown
|More Alberta households felt the impact of the economic downturn in February with the rate of personal
bankruptcies rising above 2014 levels. This is the first time since 2010 that personal bankruptcies have increased on a year-over-year basis. According to the latest release from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcies (OSB), almost 20 per cent more households declared personal bankruptcy in our province in February over January. The number of insolvencies filed by consumers in Alberta in February was ten per cent higher than the amount of bankruptcies reported back in February 2014. Nationally, the total monthly increase in consumer insolvency was also ten per cent. Over the course of the year, personal bankruptcies rose minimally by about one and a half per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador showed the highest yearly increase in the amount of consumer insolvencies (+33.0 per cent) while New Brunswick showed the largest yearly decline of household bankruptcy (-12.9 per cent). Given our current economic backdrop, it appears as though Albertans are having a little more trouble paying their debt obligations. The impact of low oil prices have changed our province’s employment landscape and appear to have caused difficulty for some households in our province. Unfortunately, this might mean a few more unpleasant releases in the short term. However, in spite of this, there remains some good news. Bankruptcy numbers continue to remain well below levels seen during the last recession (see chart).