Consumers and businesses across the country made a total of more than 1.59 million bankruptcy filings, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. This was an increase of 8 percent from the more than 1.47 million cases made in 2009. It was the fifth year in a row in which the number of cases increased.
However, the number of cases being filed is likely slowing down, as the final quarter of 2010 saw 370,080 petitions, which marked a decline of 1 percent from the 372,203 made in the same three-month period a year before, the report said.
[Consumer Resource: Bankruptcy Survival Guide]
The number of consumers seeking Chapter 7 protection from creditors rose 8 percent over the course of the year to nearly 1.14 million, and Chapter 13 filings increased at the same rate, to nearly 439,000, the report said. Meanwhile, Chapter 11 cases dropped 10 percent to 13,713, down from 15,189 in 2009.
[Resource: One Bankruptcy Every 15 Seconds an Infographic]
Declines in bankruptcy growth rates may indicate that consumers are getting a better handle on their finances and reversing the trend seen over the last several years, which has been exacerbated considerably by the lengthy national recession.