We have been reading the Monthly Insolvency Statistics for March from Mazars this morning (Friday 30 April) and the numbers suggest that the most recent reports of general recovery in the economy may paradoxically extend to our glorious profession. Darwin must be sitting bolt upright in his grave, stroking his impressive Victorian beard and feeling a little smug about how his popular theories extend to contemporary economics and the progress of capitalism.
Mazars report that the total number of corporate insolvencies were 992 in March, representing an increase of 45 per cent when compared to February. This, of course, excludes Compulsory Liquidations which still occupy the naughty step until the end of June, but Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations more than compensate for this with a rise of 49 per cent. There were 863 CVLs, which is pretty much the same as March 2020, so maybe we cannot read too much into the figures, as many IPs are having to delay the delivery of their Tesla model Ss as they await the crash of the first expected big wave of jobs, not least because the number of overall corporate jobs is still 23 per cent less than in February 2019.
Mazars report that this is still the biggest increase in corporate insolvencies since the return of Crown preference last December. Is that a flurry of snow at the top of the mountain? Is it a crack in the face of the glacier? Is that the first locust in a swarm of jobs that will ensure our secondment on the Algarve this December is still on? No-one knows; we can just look at the numbers and speculate.
Personal insolvencies continue to let the side down, their upward progress being exaggerated as 'snail paced'. Although Bankruptcy and Debt Relief Order numbers are the highest since the early autumn, they aren't doing much to the line on the electrocardiograph of jobs overall. With IVAs Mazars show us some bar graphs and (luckily) explain beneath that although the numbers demonstrate a peak in March of this year, the adjusted three month average delivers a much smoother curve.
We need the numbers to report what we cannot know to be the case outside our own experience and those we can finally share a round of golf with. However, the overall verdict is - it's too soon to tell.