Bankruptcy metrics came in mixed for September as the coronavirus pandemic continues to influence how cases move through the system.

But the head of the American Bankruptcy Institute offered three elements that could create “a dramatic climb in filings in early 2021.”

According to data provided by Epiq Systems, ABI indicated commercial Chapter 11 filings totaled 747 in September, a 78% increase above last September’s total of 420 filings, However, overall September business filings totaled 2,677, a decrease of 16% compared to the 3,190 business filings registered in September of last year.

ABI said total U.S. filings registered 39,701 in September, dropping 35% from last September’s total of 61,156. Officials determined the 37,024 consumer filings in September marked a 36% decrease from the consumer total of 57,966 compiled during the same month a year ago.

After reviewing the latest information among other economic conditions, ABI executive director Amy Quackenboss offered this forecast

“Families and businesses are faced with growing financial challenges because of the economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting debt loads,” Quackenboss said in a news release.

“While fluctuating market conditions and high filing costs continue to be a challenge for struggling consumers and companies seeking the financial fresh start of bankruptcy, the expiration of government stabilization programs, high unemployment and a precarious financial outlook for many sectors will likely lead to a dramatic climb in filings in early 2021,” she said.

Looking at data through the first three quarters of the year, officials found that total U.S. bankruptcy filings softened 28% during the first nine months of the year. The 420,048 filings dropped from the 580,625 filings completed during the same span in 2019.

ABI mentioned the 394,618 total noncommercial filings through the first three quarters of the year also represented a 28% decrease from the noncommercial filing total of 551,082 compiled during the first nine months of last year.

Officials added commercial bankruptcy filings during the first nine months of the year dipped 14% to 25,430 from the 29,543 filings during the same period in 2019.

ABI went on to point out that the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first nine months of 2020 decreased slightly to 1.81 (total filings per 1,000 population) from the 1.84 rate for the first eight months of the year.

Officials said the average daily filing total in September came in at 1,891, marking a 25% drop from the 2,527 total daily filings registered in September of last year.

States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through the first nine months of this year included:

1. Alabama (4.05)

2. Delaware (3.68)

3. Tennessee (3.59)

4. Mississippi (3.09)

5. Nevada (2.96)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.