Bankruptcy Filings Fall Sharply for Second Straight Quarter
Updated 3/5/2021: Due to technical changes, the total bankruptcy filings by chapter table was updated.
Despite continued high unemployment related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, personal and business bankruptcy filings fell 21.1 percent for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2020, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Annual bankruptcy filings totaled 612,561, compared with 776,674 cases in the year ending Sept. 30, 2019.
Bankruptcy filings also fell 11.8 percent for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2020. The final three months of that period coincided with the first wave of COVID-19 in the United States, as well as a spike in unemployment claims.
Bankruptcy filings tend to escalate gradually after an economic downturn begins. Following the Great Recession, which began in 2007, new filings escalated over a two-year period until they peaked in 2010.
Some filing activity also may have been affected by pandemic-related disruptions to bankruptcy courts, many of which have had limited public building access since mid-March.
The following tables are available:
- Business and non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2020 (Table F-2, 12-month);
- Twelve-month data for years ending September 2019 and September 2020 (Table F);
- Filings for quarter, (Table F-2, 3-month); and filings by month (Table F-2, July, August, and September);
- Bankruptcy filings by county (Report F-5A).
For more on bankruptcy and its chapters, view the following resources: