Bankruptcy filings are down in the U.S., according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). Its latest release reported first quarter bankruptcies declined 4% compared to the same time last year.
According to ABI and data from Epiq Systems, there were more than 187,000 during the first quarter of 2018. There were more than 195,000 in 2017's first quarter. Noncommercial filings also declined 4%, while commercial bankruptcies dropped 1%. Despite the overall improvement in commercial filings, Chapter 11 commercial filings increased 22% compared to the first quarter of 2017.
"Volatile market conditions in retailing have led to an increase in commercial cases, while a long-awaited course correction on Fed monetary policy could make credit more expensive for consumers with household debt," said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano in the release.
There were 770 commercial Chapter 11 filings in March 2018, a 64% jump compared to March 2017. Total commercial filings in March decreased 7%.
Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Illinois led the nation in per capita bankruptcy filing rates during the first quarter of the year (total filings per 1,000 population). The national average increased to a rate of 2.42. Alabama and Tennessee were each over 5.5.
-Michael Miller, managing editor