Bankruptcy filings in Wisconsin continued their post-recession downward trend in 2018.

Federal U.S. Bankruptcy Court data shows there were 16,194 bankruptcy petitions in the state last year. That was a decrease of 3.4 percent from 16,771 in 2017, and a 46 percent drop since 30,000 in 2010. Wisconsin bankruptcy filings now have declined for eight consecutive years.

The crucial factor in the ongoing reduction in bankruptcies: jobs.

Wisconsin’s estimated unemployment rate in December of 2018 was 3 percent. The state's jobless rate in parts of 2009 and 2010 topped 9 percent.

“People are working and people are more optimistic,” said bankruptcy attorney James Miller, of the Milwaukee firm Miller & Miller Law.

About 70 percent of the bankruptcy petitions in Wisconsin last year were Chapter 7 filings, the type intended to give people a fresh start by wiping out debt such as overwhelming medical bills, utility bills, and credit card balances.

Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.