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Distress in Retail Sector Pushes Chapter 11 Filings up in First Quarter

April 10, 2017, 07:20 AM
Filed Under: Bankruptcy

Total U.S. bankruptcy filings fell slightly in the first calendar quarter (Jan. 1 - March 31) of 2017 from the same period in 2016, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc.and released by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Bankruptcy filings totaled 195,199 in the first quarter of 2017, down just 0.23 percent from the 195,647 filings registered in the first calendar quarter of 2016. The 185,868 total noncommercial filings recorded in the first calendar quarter of 2017 represented a 0.27 percent decrease from the 2016 total of 186,376. Total commercial filings for the first three months of 2017 were 9,331, representing a 1 percent increase from the 9,271 filings during the same period in 2016. Total commercial chapter 11 filings represented the largest change, as the 1,270 during the first three months of 2017 represented an 11 percent drop from the 1,428 filings reported last year.

“Filing decreases are beginning to level off as more struggling businesses and households turn to the financial relief of bankruptcy,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Distress in the retail sector is pushing up the total number of business filings, and we are also seeing an uptick in consumer filings from previous months.”

For the month of March 2017, the 81,590 total recorded filings represented an increase of 4 percent from the 78,372 filings registered in March 2016. The 77,932 total noncommercial filings in March 2017 also represented a 4 percent increase over the March 2016 total of 74,988. Total commercial filings in March 2017 increased 8 percent to 3,658 over the 3,384 filings recorded in March 2016. Commercial chapter 11 filings increased 4 percent to 3,547 in March 2017 over the 3,407 filings the previous year.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first three months of 2017 increased to 2.51 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.19 filing rate of the first two months of the year. States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) for the first quarter of 2017 were:

1. Alabama (5.92)
2. Tennessee (5.74)
3. Georgia (4.83)
4. Mississippi (4.24)
5. Illinois (4.18)

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