Last year saw a record number of bankruptcy procedures opened in Switzerland, with almost 14,000 cases involving bust businesses and individuals.
The record numbers, released on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office, mark a 5.4% increase on 2017 and translate to overall financial losses of some CHF2 billion ($2 billion).
Every canton in the country saw a rise in cases except Zurich (24 fewer), the stats office said. Francophone regions in the south-east were particularly affected: notably Neuchâtel (15.7%), Geneva (16.5%), and Jura (25.5%).
Meanwhile, a discrepancy at national level was flagged between the 5.4% rise in the number of cases and the much larger 20% rise in the total financial cost of these cases. Here canton Geneva was a substantial culprit, contributing CHF373 million more losses than the previous year.
The stats office also clarified that these figures did not take into consideration bankruptcy procedures relating to management shortcomings – such cases in fact slightly fell last year.
These latest bankruptcy figures should not be conflated with a struggling economy, however: although growth in Switzerland remained steady rather than spectacular in 2018, unemployment numbers sank to a 10-year low.