The American Bankruptcy Institute reported that the first quarter closed with a decline in bankruptcy filings.
According to data provided by Epiq Systems, total bankruptcy filings in March decreased 3% year-over-year. The 73,476 total filings in March were down from the 76,060 total filings during the same month in 2018.
Consumer filings also decreased 3% in March to 70,228 from the March 2018 consumer filing total of 72,351.
Total commercial filings dropped 12% in March to 3,248 from the 3,709 business filings recorded last March. The 434 total commercial Chapter 11 filings in March represented a 44% decrease from last March’s total of 774.
“Access to the fresh start of bankruptcy remains a key issue for financially struggling families and businesses,” ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano said.
ABI went on to note that total U.S. bankruptcy filings fell slightly to 187,245 in the first quarter of 2019, down 0.11% from the 187,444 filings registered in the first quarter of 2018. The 177,882 total noncommercial filings in the first calendar quarter of this also registered a slight decrease from total of 177,979 filed during the first quarter of last year.
Total commercial filings fell 1% during the first three months of 2019 to 9,363 from the 9,465 filings during the same period in 2018. Total commercial Chapter 11 filings dropped 6% from 1,585 in the first quarter last year to 1,483 during the first three months of 2019.
ABI added the average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for the first three months of this year increased to 2.42 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.20 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 2019 included:
1. Alabama (5.60)
2. Tennessee (5.43)
3. Mississippi (4.38)
4. Georgia (4.29)
5. Illinois (3.74)
ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession, to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media.