ALEXANDRIA, Va. — U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings increased 17.3 percent nationwide in August from the previous month, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Overall consumer filings totaled 74,607 in August, up from the 63,600 filings in July, the group said, relying on data provided by the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

The figure was also up 31.2 percent from August 2006. Chapter 13 filings constituted 39.6 percent of all consumer cases in August, down slightly from last month.  

"The uptick in August bankruptcies continues the trend we've seen all year," explained Samuel Gerdani, ABI's executive director.

"Families facing heavy household debts are increasingly turning to bankruptcy as a short-term fix," he added.

These statistics uphold the ABI's earlier prediction that bankruptcies will continue to grow throughout the rest of the year.

"We expect bankruptcy filings to continue to rise for the balance of 2007," Gerdani said during the ABI's last report.