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Commercial Filings Plummet in Latest Bankruptcy Numbers

While bankruptcies are declining nationwide, they don’t seem to be falling anywhere faster  than in the commercial world.

Total business filings for January 2012 fell by 20% when compared to January 2011, from 6,203 to 4,967, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). Overall, filings in the U.S. decreased by 14%, totaling 87,946 last month, as compared to 102,175 the year prior.

“The continued decline in bankruptcies reflects the effort of consumers and businesses to shore up their debt loads in order to navigate through an uncertain economy,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “We expect overall bankruptcy levels in 2012 to continue to trend downward until consumers increase household spending.”

Month to month, the January 2012 overall readings represented a 9% decrease from the 96,264 filings in December 2011, and a 10% drop from the 5,496 commercial filings in December 2011. ABI cautioned, however, that Chapter 11 filings in the busiest bankruptcy jurisdictions have been up significantly over the last year, increasing by 40% in the District of Delaware and by 25% in the Southern District of New York. Two major Chapter 11 cases—Eastman Kodak and Ener1, Inc.—were filed in New York last month, while three major cases—Evergreen Energy, Inc., Buffets Restaurants Holdings and Trident Microsystems, Inc.—were filed in Delaware.

Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer