The number of January bankruptcy filings dipped below 100,000 last month for the first time in a year. January 2010 was the last time fewer than 100,000 filings were recorded, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, which reports filings were down 22 percent compared to December.
Bankruptcy lawyers in Stockton and Modesto continue to see consumers seeking Chapter 7 protection and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in record numbers throughout the U.S. Bankruptcy Court's Eastern District of California.
Primary drivers of bankruptcy filings continue to be foreclosures and bad real estate debt, unemployment, medical bills and insurmountable credit card debt. January filings totaled 3,924, up 5.7 percent from a year ago. By comparison, just 1,829 were reported in the Eastern District in January 2005.
Last year, 54,365 sought bankruptcy protection in the Eastern District of California, compared to 17,397 in 2007, before the economic downturn.
Nationwide, about 1 in every 3,000 people sought bankruptcy protection. As the economic recovery took tentative hold last year, the number of filings grew increasingly uneven across the country.
Filings in Nevada remain at a level more than twice the national average. And rates in Georgia, California and Tennessee remain at more than 1.5 times the national average. Eight areas reported rates less than half the national average: Alaska, South Dakota, District of Columbia, South Carolina, Vermont, New York, Wyoming and North Dakota.
California is one of just four states where January filing rates were higher than last year. The others were Delaware, Idaho and Utah. Several state reported levels at least 30 percent below last year's, including Vermont, Connecticut, New York and D.C.