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Local Bankruptcies Drop as Economy Recovers From Pandemic Slowdown

Tracy O Money!

Hawaii bankruptcies dropped to their lowest level for the month of May in 15 years as the economy claws out of a coronavirus pandemic-induced slowdown.

U.S. Bankruptcy Court data shows there were 100 cases in May, down 10.7% from 112 during the same month last year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

The last time there were fewer cases in May was in 2006, when there were 93.

Eugene Tian, chief economist for the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, expects bankruptcy filings will remain low for the rest of the year thanks to the economy reopening, travel restrictions being lifted and stimulus funds from the federal government.

Through the first five months of 2021, bankruptcies dropped 11.2% to 554 from 624 in the year-ago period.

Tourism from the rest of the U.S. has been recovering strongly, with more travelers from the U.S. mainland arriving in May 2021 than in May 2019. But visitors from other countries have not returned at the same rates. International arrivals are less than 1% of their totals from two years ago.

”Those businesses and individuals that rely on international visitors may continue to wait,” Tian said. “The recovery of international tourism will be very slow until the end of the year.”

The state’s extension of the eviction moratorium will give renters and homeowners another 60 days before deciding whether they want to avoid eviction by filing bankruptcy, Tian said.

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