Bankruptcy Report Shows New Filings Well Below Pre-Pandemic Pace

Bankruptcy Report Shows New Filings Well Below Pre-Pandemic Pace

By Terri Jo Neff |

The number of new bankruptcy filings across Arizona as of May 31 is down compared to the same time last year, and the numbers suggest a continuing falloff compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic bankruptcy activity.

That data comes from a report issued last week by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona. It shows 3,498 new bankruptcy filings so far this year, down 17.5 percent from the first five months of 2021.

By comparison, there were nearly 6,800 filings for the same period of 2019, with more than 16,200 being recorded by the end of that year.  If the current 2022 rate holds to the end of the year, it would mean a nearly 50 percent decrease from 2019’s numbers.

The most prevalent type of bankruptcy filings so far this year are under Chapter 7, which accounts for 2,901 cases. This is followed by 574 Chapter 13 filings, 22 Chapter 11 filings, and a lone Chapter 12 filing.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s Yuma Office serving La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties saw the biggest decline, falling nearly 31 percent from 232 filings in the first five months of 2021 to 161 in January to May of this year. Meanwhile, the filing rates for the Court’s Phoenix Office fell 16.2 percent, while the Tucson Office fell 12.4 percent.

The counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Navajo, and Yavapai are served by the court’s Phoenix Office, while Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima, Pinal and Santa Cruz fall under the Tucson Office.

Court records also show 413 of the new cases this year were filed Pro Se, meaning the parties initiated the bankruptcy process without an attorney. Although Pro Se filings represent only 12 percent of the new cases, that rate is significantly lower than 2019 when more than 18 percent of all filings were made Pro Se.

The most filings this year have come out of Maricopa County (513) and Pima County (122) with Pinal County (54) in a distant third place. By comparison, Graham County had only one bankruptcy filing reported in 2019, one in 2020, and none in 2021.

However, court records show there have already been six filed so far this year out of Graham County.