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What's behind the recent drop in bankruptcy filings?

When the Great Recession began back in December 2007, it marked the start of what would eventually prove to be a record number of foreclosures and the loss of an unprecedented number of jobs.

What sometimes gets overlooked, however, is that it also marked the start of what the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has dubbed "a national wave of bankruptcies." Indeed, this veritable tidal wave reached its peak in September 2010 when upwards of 1.6 million bankruptcies were filed.

Fast forward to the present and, of course, economic conditions have improved considerably, as the real estate market has stabilized, jobs lost have been largely recovered and the number of bankruptcies has fallen.

In fact, a recent report from the AOUSC reveals that the number of bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending this past September was the lowest for any 12-month timeframe since December 2007 and over 54,600 fewer filings than the same timeframe last year.

Breaking the numbers down further, the AOUSC report found the following for the 12-month period ending in September 2016:

  • There were 51,669 fewer Chapter 7 filings
  • There were 3,492 fewer Chapter 13 filings

"[The] rate of decline in bankruptcy filings has been pretty steady," said one law professor. "We're not at the bottom yet, but pretty close to it."

As to the reason for the decrease in bankruptcy filings, experts are attributing it to the post-recession decline of household debt, a key metric that directly influences bankruptcy filings.

As fascinating as these figures are in the sense that they shed light on the current state of the economy, they shouldn't be interpreted in any way as limiting your ability to file for personal bankruptcy. Indeed, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 have -- and will always be -- available to help those in need of a fresh financial start.

To learn more about your options, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional.   

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