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Bankruptcy Filings Up 33 Percent in 3Q

December 01, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va. U.S. bankruptcies filed in the third quarter 2009 totaled 388,485, a 33 percent increase over the 292,291 cases filed in the year-ago period, according to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Total filings for the first nine months of 2009 were up 35 percent to 1.1 million compared to the 814,496 filings during the year-ago period. Bankruptcies are at the highest level since the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code.

“The spike in bankruptcy filings for both consumers and businesses reflects the continuing effects of today’s weak economy,” said American Bankruptcy Institute Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “With unemployment surpassing 10 percent and credit to businesses remaining tight, consumers and businesses are increasingly turning to the financial relief of bankruptcy.”

The 45,510 business bankruptcies recorded during the first three quarters of 2009 have eclipsed the 2008 business filing total of 43,546. Business filings in the third quarter 2009, totaled 15,177 filings, up 32 percent over the 11,504 business filings in 2008. Chapter 11 business filings rose to 3,060 during the third quarter, an increase of 23 percent over the 2,485 filings during the year-ago period. Chapter 7 business filings also increased to 10,798 during the three-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, representing a 36 percent spike over the 7,927 filings during the same period in 2008.

Consumer filings totaled 373,308 during the third quarter 2009, representing a 33 percent increase over the 280,787 filed during the year-ago period. Consumer chapter 7 filings totaled 265,721, an increase of 42 percent over the year-ago total of 187,227. Chapter 13 consumer filings also increased to 107,142 filings, representing a 15 percent increase over the 93,333 filings during the same period in 2008.

The 1,402,816 total filings for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, were up more than 34 percent from the same period in 2008, which totaled 1,042,993. The bankruptcy filing rate per thousand U.S. residents totaled 4.52 for all chapters during the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, as 3.19 Americans per thousand filed for chapter 7 while 1.28 per thousand filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy, all increases from the year-ago period.

Nevada was the state with the highest per capita filing rate in the country, with 10.49 residents per thousand filing in all chapters, and also had the highest per capita filing rate for chapter 7 filings at 7.53. The state with the highest per capita filing rate for chapter 13 bankruptcy was Tennessee at 4.36 per thousand for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30, 2009.

Nonbusiness filings for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, totaled 1,344,095, an increase of 34 percent from the 1,004,342 total nonbusiness filings calculated over the same period in 2008. Business filings for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, totaled 58,721, up 52 percent from the 38,651 bankruptcy petitions filed in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2008.

The 989, 227 total chapter 7 filings for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, represent a 45 percent increase from the 679,982 filings from the same period in 2008. Chapter 11 filings also increased, rising 68 percent to 14,745 in 2009 from 8,799 in 2008. Total chapter 13 filings increased 13 percent to 398,210 in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2009, from 353,828 in the same period last year. Chapter 12 filings also increased 47 percent from 332 in 2008 to 487.

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