Business failures are finally headed down. Dun & Bradstreet Corp. reports that 25,824 businesses folded in the first quarter, leaving $12.9 billion in liabilities in their wake. That's a 10.2% decline in business casualties and a huge 43% drop in liabilities from the same period last year.
The tally shows the first quarterly year-over-year decrease in failures in three years. D&B economist Joseph Duncan says that the drop in liabilities is particularly significant because it means that fewer big companies are failing. Many recent failures, he notes, involved small companies dragged down by the collapse of their large-company customers. "The waning of the ripple effect," he says, "is a clear signal that the economic recovery is on solid ground."