Total U.S. bankruptcy filings increased 19% in February over last month, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Bankruptcy filings totaled 104,418 in February, up from the 87,981 filings in January 2012. Filings per day rose 27% to 3,601 from 2,838 in January.

The 99,288 total non-commercial filings in February 2012 represented a 20% increase over the January 2012 total of 83,014. The total commercial filings of 5,130 for February 2012 increased 3% over the 4,967 filings in January 2012.

When compared to a year earlier, however, the data - provided to ABI by Epiq Systems Inc. - showed that the total February 2012 filings decreased 5% from the February 2011 total of 109,565. The total commercial filings for February 2012 fell 16% from the 6,076 commercial filings recorded in February 2011. Total non-commercial filings registered a 4% decrease from the 103,489 filings in February 2011.

“The stagnant housing sector and high unemployment continue to stress the cash flow of consumers and businesses,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “As consumers and businesses work to shed tremendous debt loads, there are times when bankruptcy is the only shelter to provide financial relief.”

Changes to total commercial chapter 11 filings changed slightly in February. Overall, the February 2012 total commercial chapter 11 filing total of 750 represented a 1% increase over January’s total of 744, but a decrease of 3% from the February 2011 total of 770.
Chapter 15 filings experienced the largest increases in February.

The February 2012 chapter 15 filing total of 40 was 567% more than the 6 filings registered in 2011 and 74% greater than the 23 filings in January 2012.
The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy-filing rate for the first two calendar months of 2012 (Jan. 1-Feb. 29) increased to 3.73 (total filings per 1,000 per population). States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) for the first two months of 2012 were:

1. Tennessee (6.93)
2. Nevada (6.29)
3. Georgia (6.28)
4. Alabama (5.58)
5. California (5.28)

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