Bankruptcy jumps 34 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Bankruptcy filings in federal courts jumped by more than one-third this year, as businesses and individuals struggled to regain their footing in a weakened economy.

The number of bankruptcies in Mississippi also increased, but not as dramatically. New numbers from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts show about 1.4 million bankruptcy cases were filed this fiscal year.

That's up 34.5 percent compared with the more than 1 million cases filed last fiscal year. The bankruptcy figures cover a period from Oct. 1, 2008, to Sept. 30.

In Mississippi's Southern District, bankruptcy filings rose 18.1 percent with 7,495 in Fiscal Year 2009 compared to 6,349 in FY 2008.

Bankruptcies in the Northern District were up 27.3 percent, 6,959 in FY over 5,467 in FY 2008. Still, Mississippi's bankruptcy rate is lower than the national average.

Filings under Chapters 7, 11, 12 and 13 all rose - particularly filings for Chapter 11 protection, which increased 68 percent.

Overall, business filings were up 52 percent, while nonbusiness filings rose by 34 percent.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)