Are people leaving the labor force? Is unemployment really rising? The labor force participation rate says yes!

There have been many articles and warnings lately that people are leaving the labor force.  These articles claim there are fewer people working or looking for work each year and that the labor force of employed or employable individuals is shrinking.  This is occurring while the population is still rising.  There is therefore apparently not a lessening of the population but a lessening of people in it that are eager to work.

That begs the question of why this is happening.  Is the population just aging?  Are people retiring earlier or are kids staying at home longer?  Or is it that more and more people just giving up and forgetting about working or looking for work?

And if these people are just leaving the workforce out of disillusionment with the current state of the economy then how are they surviving?  Is government (you and me) paying for them?  Are they living off friends and relatives?  Are they living off the land?  What are these people doing and why and will it continue?

According to a recent online article posted on ZeroHedge the labor force has declined in the month of April by 522,000 people.  That means that there are currently 88,419,000 people who are not in the labor force but who are of an age where you would expect that they would be (over the age of 16).  This represents a new low.

I found a definition of the “labor force participation rate” in the Winston-Salem Journal.  It is a term used by the Department of Labor and it simply means the number of people over the age of 16 working or actively looking for work.  According to this article the labor force participation rate for April 2012 is 70% for men which is the lowest since the government started keeping statistics on this in 1948.  For all Americans it has reached the lowest level since 1981.

Some say that high paid jobs are being replaced by low wage manufacturing and construction jobs.  This could account for the lowest level ever of men working.  Many of my clients have looked for higher wage jobs for years and can’t find anything.  Many of these people have given up trying to find a job out of disillusionment.  They simply won’t take a very low paid job at their age and skill level.

As far as 16 year olds are concerned most don’t currently work even if many of us adults think they should.  Indeed the current “failure to launch syndrome” tells us that 70% of children under the age of 30 still live with their parents.  Women make up more than 60% of college grads and they are entering the workforce in numbers which may contribute to lack of job availability for men.  The overall labor force participation rate peaked in 2000 when women really began “flooding” the workforce according to this article.

But still  it seems in general that more people are continuing to leave the workforce.  Some groups have a higher rate but every group seems to have fewer people working as the numbers for the whole labor force participation is at its lowest rate since 1981.

The problem is that the government only counts unemployed people if they are in the labor force. If they have exited for any reason then they are not counted.  So when you are told that the unemployment rate is declining then remember these figures.  Ask yourself if unemployment really is declining because it seems to me that it is still rising.  It also seems like there is an ongoing mass exodus currently from the labor force.  A mass exodus that is not showing up in unemployment statistics.

You might come to the same conclusion that we are being lied to.  That unemployment is rising, more people are out of work and these people appear to be so disillusioned that they have given up on work altogether.  All the while we are being told that the economy is improving and unemployment is falling.  I say don’t believe it.

I am bankruptcy attorney in San Diego.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis! 

 For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.

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What is better when I am in debt, a debt settlement company or a bankruptcy attorney?

The answer to this question is easy.  A bankruptcy attorney is better than a debt settlement company and bankruptcy is almost always better than debt settlement if you wish to do it.  If you have debts but you don’t want to file bankruptcy for some reason then debt settlement through an attorney can be a good alternative.

I often settle debts for my clients who don’t wish to do a bankruptcy.  We look at the  client’s situation, evaluate the debts and the amounts owed, and we propose a settlement.  This settlement is forwarded to the creditors and in the settlement proposal we state that everyone must agree of my client will go bankrupt and the creditor will get nothing.

Creditors usually realize that bankruptcy attorneys will file a bankruptcy without a problem and they usually come around and agree to some type of settlement.  It does help though to have money to settle with as getting the creditors to accept payments is tough.  They want to settle the entire account if they are to take a reduced amount.  Remember that the collection agencies have bought this debt for pennies on the dollar so a definite reduced amount is far better than an uncertainty or nothing at all.

Debt settlement companies that say they specialize in settling debts (the ones that you see advertised constantly) are probably not a good option in my opinion.  These companies are very expensive, take a long time, and you get no legal protection.  My clients often pay thousands of dollars to these companies and sometimes they get few or none of their debts settled in the end.  (See my article on my website about debt settlement companies).

Clients come to me after having been sued by one of their creditors that was supposed to be taken care of in the settlements.  The client then often decides to go bankrupt anyway.  When we examine the contract the client signed with the debt settlement company we find that they are indeed paying thousands of dollars to have these people “settle” their debts.  The client then discovers that the settlement companies always put in their contracts that the companies don’t provide any legal protection if a creditor decides to sue.

And the creditors will sue.  These settlement companies work by charging you a large monthly fee which mostly goes to pay them in the beginning.  Then when you get done paying them they start putting money away for the creditors so they can offer them settlements one by one.  There is no assurance that the creditors will accept the settlement and the creditors who are last in line often sue anyway.

That is when we bankruptcy attorneys are called when it is too late to save you the money.  We can file the bankruptcy and get you out of the debts but if you had called us first we would have saved you the thousands you spent on the debt settlement company for nothing.

If you hire an attorney in the first place you would not only save money but by law the creditors would have to call us and not you.  Creditors are unlikely to sue once you engage an attorney because they know they must cease all contact with you by law and if they do file a lawsuit then we bankruptcy attorneys can immediately file your bankruptcy case and stop their lawsuit in its tracks.  The creditors would then lose all their filing fees and attorney fees and the underlying debt.

You can see that the creditors are thus very motivated to settle once a bankruptcy attorney enters the picture.  Call a bankruptcy attorney if you are thinking about settling your debts.  The attorney can file a bankruptcy or get you the best deal on a settlement probably far cheaper than a debt settlement company.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis! 

For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.

What to look for in a bankruptcy attorney in San Diego

Are you looking for a bankruptcy attorney in San Diego?  There are many things you may want to consider when looking for a San Diego bankruptcy attorney to advise you on your bankruptcy.  (See here for an article on why you shouldn’t go it alone and why you need an attorney).

The first thing is free consultations.  Most attorneys give free consultations but there are some out there that don’t.  I see a lot of chatter out there from bankruptcy attorneys who complain about giving free consultations.

Many of them say that there time is worth something and people should not waste their time. Some will give a free consultation if you sign for the bankruptcy but they will charge you $200 sometimes if you do not sign.  If you are not prepared to pay then it would be a good idea to see if your attorney gives free consultations or not and if they are completely free.

Experience is important too of course.  Many attorneys got in the bankruptcy field when the economy went south as their areas of practice declined too.  They may not have had many cases even at this date.  Make sure your attorney is experienced and has worked on many cases for a number of years.  Make sure the have faced a variety of bankruptcy issues and the attorney is competent to advise you on them.

Part-time attorneys are a problem too.  Some attorneys do bankruptcy on the side along with their other practice areas.  They may also do few cases like the new attorney and they may not know the nuances of bankruptcy law.  (See here for my expanded website article for what to look for when hiring a bankruptcy lawyer).

Get an attorney you can get in touch with.  Many large firms and even many small firms have layers of employees that you must speak to instead of the attorney.  You may have a tough time getting access to your attorney and this is a bad situation for you and your case.  You need regular and consistent access to your attorney if you have a problem or question that arises.

You need an attorney who is personable.  Some attorneys were good in law school and they can relate to books and legal concepts but not you.  You are a person and you need an attorney with people skills as well as a smart attorney.

And don’t forget price.  You don’t want a bargain basement attorney.  If he is not making enough to do your case it is unlikely that he will spend the time necessary to do a good job.  He will probably have so many clients that he cannot spend much time on your case.  If on the other hand he is too expensive then that will strain your budget and be a waste of money.

I recommend you find an attorney who will take payments from you and at the same time accept the creditor calls on your behalf until you can afford to pay him off.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for free credit report and analysis!  For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.

Shiller says housing prices won’t rebound for a generation. Are we headed for a society of permanent tenancy?

In an interview with Reuters Yale economics professor Robert Shiller (creator of the Case/Schiller housing index) has expressed his concern that housing prices may not rebound for a generation.  He says that the combination of high gas prices, a weak labor market, and a general sense of unease among consumers have all combined to keep housing prices low for the foreseeable future.  He apparently added in the interview that he was worried that we would not see a housing rebound in our lifetimes.

If this is true could it mean that our generation is doomed to low housing prices?  Will we really not see increases for the foreseeable future?  What effect will that have on future home sales?  Don’t people buy homes because they are a good investment and because they will increase in price in the future?  Will they now stop?  Won’t this radically affect our whole economy and what about all of the people who work in the real estate industry?

These are just a few of the questions I had when I read this.  I hope this economist is wrong but if he is right then we could see a whole different society in the future.  It could be one where people won’t invest in real estate anymore.  People could merely rent their home or apartment and not buy because they have little hope of getting any appreciation or equity out of their investment.  This could mean the end of the American dream of home ownership.

It is well-known that there are kids who are staying longer and longer at home.  Much longer than they did in previous generations.  These are the “failure to launch kids”.  According to CBS fully 70% of children under 30 still live with their parents. These people will probably not buy homes until much later if at all unlike previous generations when people usually left home at 18 years old.

This factor combined with the recession, the foreclosure crisis, and the failure of housing appreciation is creating a different kind of nation.  One where real estate is not purchased nearly as often.  I believe that there could be a future for America where people don’t invest in real estate.  One where they rent and don’t own ever. One where they are tenants for life.  This will be a different society than the one we know now.  Some realtors I know claim that the whole economy is so dependant on real estate that it cannot climb out of this recession until real estate does.  (See here for my blog on how foreclosures are predicted to increase in the near future).

I hope the realtors are wrong and I hope Schiller is wrong.  I personally don’t want to see our country abandon the American dream of homeownership and trade it or a society of permanent, lifetime tenants.  It sounds too much like medieval Europe to me.  I don’t foresee good coming out of us becoming tenant/peasants who have not hope of owning homes.  I believe housing prices must rise again in the not too distant future if we are to avoid an unraveling of society and a return to a more slavish tenant existence.  This would not be good for anyone and a departure from everything were moving towards up until this point in our history.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.   Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for a free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.