ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Overall, U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings jumped 40 percent throughout the nation in October, compared to the same period a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, which relies on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center.

More specifically, consumer filing came in at 106,266, representing a 20-percent increase from September.

As for Chapter 13 filings, these constituted 32.6 percent of all consumer cases in October, a slight decrease from September. 

The October consumer filing total also represents the first time that bankruptcies have topped 100,000 since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act went into effect in October 2005.

The 880,076 consumer filings through the first 10 months of 2008 (Jan. 1 to Oct. 31) have already eclipsed the filing total of 822,590 for all of last year, officials highlighted.

"October's sharp spike in new consumer bankruptcies confirms the severe financial stress on household budgets caused by high debts, flat incomes, and declining home values," said Samuel Gerdano, ABI's executive director

"We expect the 2008 numbers to be the highest since the new bankruptcy law went into effect in 2005," he concluded.