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October saw 106,255 personal bankruptcy filings, which marked a 19.6 percent drop from the number of filings in October 2010 and a 2.1 percent drop from September of this year.
While these figures are still considered initial numbers (meaning they haven't been seasonally adjusted), they still follow the trend of decreasing personal bankruptcy filings that has manifested over the last year or so.
Many analysts are crediting the dropping bankruptcy rates to a reduction in consumer credit.
In addition to pulling back on credit because of fears about job security and unemployment, consumers are facing more restrictive lending standards from banks and other credit issuers.
In essence, a limited ability to take on new credit has led to less debt and therefore fewer bankruptcy filings than in previous years.
The most recent bankruptcy numbers correlate with other indicators about consumer behavior: as of August, total consumer credit was down 4.5 percent from a year earlier.
A 2010 Bankruptcy Peak?
The trend could be significant, as 2010 saw the highest number of bankruptcy filings since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) overhauled bankruptcy laws in 2005.
That year, consumers rushed to file before the new laws took effect, because those laws made filing for bankruptcy more difficult for struggling consumers.
In the months following BAPCPA's introduction, then, filing rates were artificially low because so many individuals had filed earlier than they otherwise would have.
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