Report: Bankruptcies Dropping Toward Pre-Crash Levels

We’re nearing the All-Star break for baseball, which means it’s time to enjoy the annual tradition of looking at the American Bankruptcy Institute’s half-year stats. The bad news is that a butt-ton of people and businesses in the U.S. are still filing for bankruptcy, but on the up side, that number continues to show a downward trend after its most recent peak in 2010.

According to numbers provided by the Bankruptcy Institute — a name that just screams “good times for all!” — the total number of bankruptcy filings between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 2012 was a whopping 632,130.

That’s more than all the bankruptcies filed for all 12 months of 2006, when we were all too busy buying vacation yachts (to get away from our boring ol’ weekend yachts) to pay attention to the thud-thud-thud of impending doom on the march.

But it’s also a pretty impressive 14% drop off from the same period in 2011, during which there were 731,500 bankruptcy filings in the U.S.

Perhaps even better news is that the number of businesses filing for bankruptcy dropped by 22% to 30,946. This means that fewer businesses are shutting down or having to pare back drastically to restructure under bankruptcy protection, which means at least some people are keeping their jobs.

“We are on pace for perhaps the lowest total new bankruptcies since before the financial crisis in 2008,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “With sustained low interest rates and weak consumer spending, we expect bankruptcies to stay at relatively low levels through the end of 2012.”

If one assumes that the bankruptcy rate remains steady for the rest of 2012, the year would end up with around 1.26 million total filings, a drop of about 150,000 from 2011 — and about 150,000 more than the 2008 total.

In terms of states that are still feeling the sting of bankruptcy, there are still some places with per-capita bankruptcy filing rates significantly higher than the national average 4.08 filings per 1,000 people.

Per the ABI, these are the five states with the highest per capita filing rates for the first six months of 2012:
1. Nevada (7.06)
2. Tennessee (6.99)
3. Georgia (6.49)
4. Utah (6.12)
5. Alabama (5.88)