Bankruptcies Up, Biz Filings Down in 2002

According to U.S. figures from BankruptcyData, more than 30 percent of the largest corporate bankruptcies since 1980 occurred in 2002, leading the charge for a year of record-breaking filings.

The American Bankruptcy (ABI) Institute reports that the total bankruptcies filed in 2002 totaled more than 1.5 million – up 5.7 percent from 2001 – but despite the strong showing on the BankruptcyData leader board, corporations fared better than individuals in 2002.

ABI’s data shows that non-business filings accounted for the overwhelming majority at 97.6 percent or 1,539,111 of the total cases. Business bankruptcies declined in 2002, with a total of 9,500 occurring during the last three months of the year – a 5.1 percent decline over the last quarter of 2001.

The trend to file bankruptcy could continue its record-breaking pace as Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director, ABI, comments: “With historically high levels of consumer debt and many public companies in financial distress, we expect 2003 to continue this pace.”

ABI found the District of Guam to have the highest increase in bankruptcy filings in 2002 at 31.6 percent, followed by the Eastern District of Michigan at 21.9 percent; the Middle District of Alabama at 19.5 percent; the District of Arizona, 16.5 percent; and the Western District of Missouri, 15.8 percent.

The districts with the largest decrease in total filings for 2002 are: District of Delaware, 11.0 percent; District of Hawaii, 10.9 percent; District of Wyoming, 9.1 percent; District of the Virgin Islands, 7.6 percent; and District of North Dakota, 7.0 percent.

Bankruptcy Filings, U.S. Business and Non-Business
Quarter/Year Total Filings Non-Business Filings Business Filings
4th Quarter 2002 395,129 385,629 9,500
3rd Quarter 2002 401,306 391,873 9,433
2nd Quarter 2002 400,686 390,991 9,695
1st Quarter 2002 379,012 369,237 9,775
4th Quarter 2001 364,971 354,908 10,013
3rd Quarter 2001 359,518 349,981 9,537
2nd Quarter 2001 400,394 390,064 10,330
1st Quarter 2001 366,841 356,836 10,005
Source: The American Bankruptcy (ABI)

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