* Business, consumer bankruptcies up in 2009
By Chelsea Emery
NEW YORK Jan 5 U.S. business bankruptcies rose
38 percent last year, to a record since bankruptcy laws were
changed in 2005, according to a bankruptcy data firm on
There were 89,402 bankruptcy filings by businesses last
year, compared with 64,584 the previous year, according to data
compiled from court filings by Automated Access to Court
Electronic Records, which is part of Jupiter eSources LLC in
That's the highest yearly figure since 2005 when a flood of
businesses and consumers filed for bankruptcy before changes to
the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that made it harder for consumers to
erase their debts and for businesses to restructure without
interference from creditors.
"It's a sizable increase over 2008," said AACER President
Personal bankruptcies jumped to 1,357,565 last year, from
1,031,562 the year before.
The data included bankruptcy codes Chapter 7, 11 and
others. Consumers often use Chapter 7 to get a new start on
their financial lives. Chapter 13 lets people discharge some
debts. Businesses typically use Chapter 7 to relieve themselves
of debt and Chapter 11 to restructure debt and operations.
The numbers have been "steadily up," said Bickford. "I
don't think (2010) will be less than 2009. I think what's going
to tell the tale for 2010 is the first quarter."
(Reporting by Chelsea Emery; editing by Carol Bishopric)