Bankruptcy Filings Way Down But Wait For It

Bankruptcy filings fell sharply for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2020, despite a significant surge in unemployment-related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Annual bankruptcy filings in the calendar year 2020 totaled 544,463, compared with 774,940 cases in 2019, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That is a decrease of 29.7 percent.

Only one category saw an increase in filings. Chapter 11 reorganizations rose 19.2 percent, from 6,808 in 2019 to 8,113 in 2020. Of those, 7,561 involved business reorganizations.

The number of total filings was the lowest since 1986 when 530,438 bankruptcies were filed. Filings fell sharply in the early months of the pandemic, starting in March 2020, when many courts offered limited access to the public. In addition, bankruptcy filings can lag behind other economic indicators. Following the Great Recession, which began in 2007, new filings escalated until they peaked in 2010.

I don’t bet but I would put money on the bankruptcy explosion to come. Once the temporary measures for mortgages and rental units eventually expire, the tsunami of bankruptcies will surprise some.

The following data tables are available:

Business and non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending Dec.31, 2020 (Table F-2, 12-month);

Bankruptcy data for the twelve-month periods ending in December 2019 and in December 2020 (Table F);

Fourth quarter filings, (Table F-2, 3-month); and filings by month (Table F-2, October, November, and December)

Bankruptcy filings by county (Report F-5A).

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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