New Hampshire bankruptcy filings plummeted in April

Number of individuals businesses seeking protection dips below 100

Bankruptcy DefinitionfaceDespite a record number of unemployment claims due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer New Hampshire individuals and businesses filed for bankruptcy protection in April than any other month in a generation.

There were only 99 filings – the first time the number of filings dipped below 100 aside from three months after October 2005, shortly after the law was amended to make filing harder. Aside from that, you’d have to reach back to February 1989 to find a two-digit figure. It was the lowest number of filings for any April since 1988, and less than one-fifth the number of filings in April 2010, in the heart of the last recession.

There were 50 fewer filings in April than March – a 34% drop – and 58 fewer than April 2019 – a 37% drop.

Bankruptcies are a lagging economic indicator, so the April data could be reflecting the strength of the economy before the pandemic struck. It might also indicate all of the programs that were quickly put in place to shore up businesses and individuals. Businesses now have access to low-interest or forgivable loans, and individuals and owners of shutdown businesses can file for more generous unemployment benefits and there’s a $1,200-per-person federal emergency impact payment for those earning up to $75,000.

There were five businesses-related filings in April, two fewer than March; one was a filing by a business. The rest were household filings that involved business-related debt. The business that filed was P&M Entertainment LLC, North Hampton, filed April 30, Chapter 7. Assets: $100,000 to $500,000. Liabilities: $500,000 to $1 million.

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