Monday, December 29, 2008

Bankruptcy Filing Data Released for Fiscal Year 2008 by Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts: Key Details and Comparisons

By Andrew Toth-Fejel, Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys,

Earlier this month the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts released the bankruptcy filing statistics for the nation and for each federal district, up through the end of the 2008 federal fiscal year (through September 30, 2008). Today's Bulletin focuses on the national statistics, including information through November 2008 from a more up-to-date source (AACER--Automated Access to Court Electronic Records). (Tomorrow's Bulletin highlights data for the federal district of Oregon, for illustrative purposes comparing it to the Northern District of Texas.)

Fiscal Year 2008 Compared to 2007
Total bankruptcy case filings were up by more than 30% for the fiscal year--from 801,269 for the fiscal year to 1,042,993 for 2008. Chapter 7 filings increased much more than Chapter 13's: by 40% in contrast to only 14%. Chapter 11's increased even more, by 49%.

Quarter-to-Quarter Filing Increases, from Prior Quarter & from a Year Ago
On a quarterly basis, the filings increased significantly from 2008 fiscal year 3rd quarter to 4th quarter in every Chapter. Total filings increased quarter-to-quarter by 19.0%, a huge increase over a just a single quarter, including a 23.1% increase in Chapter 7's, a 10.8% increase in Chapter 13's, a 34.7% increases in Chapter 11's, as well as a 9.9% increase in Chapter 12's.

From the fiscal 4th quarter 2007 to the 4th quarter fiscal year 2008, total filings went up 33.5%, so more than half of the quarterly year-to-year increase occurred during the most recent two quarters (from April through September 2008), indicating an accelerating trend. In this year-to-year comparison under each Chapter, Chapter 7 filings were up a tremendous 47.8%, Chapter 13 up 10.7%, Chapter 11 up a staggering 71.3% and Chapter 12 up 25.4%. In each one of these except Chapter 12's, about half or more of the year-to-year increase occurred in the last two quarters, again indicating an accelerating trend.

Compared to Pre-BAPCPA
However, these fiscal year numbers are still substantially lower than pre-BAPCPA levels, at only 64% of the fiscal year 2004 total filings and 59% of the 2005 total. More telling, on a quarterly basis, with 292,291 filings in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2008, the most of any quarter since BAPCPA, and with increases in EVERY quarter since BAPCPA, this quarterly filing amount is still LOWER than ANY quarter going back to the 2nd quarter of 1996. That's 39 consecutive pre-BAPCPA quarters which had more bankruptcy filings than the the 4th quarter of 2008.

More Precise Monthly Comparisons
On a monthly basis, from the Administrative Office national statistics August 2008 total bankruptcy filings were actually 2% less than July 2008, but September was 2% more than August, so almost identical to July; thus during these summer months the national filing numbers were quite stable. However July 2008 was 39% higher than July of 2007, August was 22% higher than August of 2007, and September was 42% higher than September of 2007. More recently, from the AACER statistics and based on the more accurate filings-per-business-day by Professor Robert Lawless of the University of Illinois College of Law, September 2008 filings were up 1.9% from August 2008, October up 7.9% from September, and November up 2.6%. Using these same filings-per-business-day calculations, October 2008 was 33.7% higher than October 2007, and November 2008 was 36.9% higher than November 2007.

***Please return here tomorrow for a look at the Oregon side of this national picture, including some surprising differences.***

by Andrew Toth-Fejel
Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys
PLEASE NOTE that this Bulletin and the entire contents of this website are NOT designed for the general public but rather only for attorneys. The writer is not licensed to practice law in any state. This means that he is not legally permitted to give any legal advice or perform any legal services. Any non-attorney reading this must consult an attorney about ANYTHING contained here. Nothing in this website is intended to be nor should be read as being legal advice to anyone.

© 2008 Bankruptcy Litigation Support for Attorneys