ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) announced that total bankruptcy filings in the United States increased 19 percent in February vs. January. Filings totaled 104,418 in February, up from the 87,981 filings in January.

“The stagnant housing sector and high unemployment continue to stress the cash flow of consumers and businesses,” said Samuel J. Gerdano, ABI executive director. “As consumers and businesses work to shed tremendous debt loads, there are times when bankruptcy is the only shelter to provide financial relief.”

Filings per day rose 27 percent to 3,601 from 2,838 in January, according to the data. The 99,288 total noncommercial filings in February represented a 20 percent increase vs. January’s total of 83,014. The total commercial filings of 5,130 for February represented a 3 percent increase from January figures.

When compared to a year earlier, the data showed that the total February filings decreased 5 percent year over year while the total commercial filings for February fell 16 percent. Total noncommercial filings registered a 4 percent decrease from the 103,489 filings in February 2011.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy-filing rate for the first two calendar months of 2012 increased to 3.73 (total filings per 1,000 per population). States with the highest per capita filing rate for the first two months of 2012 were:

1. Tennessee (6.93)
2. Nevada (6.29)
3. Georgia (6.28)
4. Alabama (5.58)
5. California (5.28)

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