U.S. business bankruptcies rise 40 percent in May

NEW YORK Tue Jun 2, 2009 2:57pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. business bankruptcy filings jumped 40 percent in May from a year ago as the sluggish U.S. economy pushed more businesses into the red, a bankruptcy data provider said on Tuesday.

There were 7,514 commercial bankruptcy filings for the month, compared with just 5,354 during the same month a year ago, according to Automated Access to Court Electronic Records (AACER), a database of U.S. bankruptcy statistics used by attorneys and lenders.

In just two years, the number of businesses filing for bankruptcy in May has more doubled. Last month brought the bankruptcies of yellow pages telephone directory publisher RH Donnelley Corp RHDC.PK, auto parts maker Visteon Corp VSTN.PK and apparel retailer Anchor Blue Retail Group Inc.

Per day, 376 companies sought protection from creditors in bankruptcy court.

"The average filing amount per day is actually the highest since the bankruptcy law changed in October of 2005," said Mike Bickford, president of AACER.

The figures do not include Chrysler, which filed for bankruptcy in April or General Motors, which filed on June 1.

U.S. bankruptcy laws changed in 2005.

AACER's count of commercial cases includes bankruptcy filings from companies, as well as individuals who say they are running a business.

There are many more bankruptcy filings to come, Bickford said.

"I would see continued filings throughout 2009 and well into 2010," he said, citing data trends.

(Reporting by Chelsea Emery, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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