NH ends the year and decade with monthly low record for bankruptcies

103 filings is among lowest monthly totals in 30 years

New Hampshire ended 2019 on a happy note: Fewer bankruptcies were filed in December than in any month of the decade.

Some 103 individuals filed for protection in the last month, 37 fewer than November and 40 fewer than December 2018. That’s more than a 25% reduction. And not one of them was a business, although two individuals had business-related debt.

That brings the total number of filings for 2019 to 1,773, 27 more than 2018, a 1.5% increase. Average monthly filings in 2019 was about 148, two more than 2018, four less than 2017, and less than a third of the 459 monthly average in 2010, at the height of the recession.

December’s 103 filings beat the previous monthly low for the decade of 121 in February 2019. It was less than a fifth of the size of the largest monthly filing, in March of 2010, 586.

Indeed, if you don’t count the statistical anomaly of 2005-2006, when bankruptcy laws were changed to make it much harder for individuals to file, the number of December filings was the lowest in three decades. You would have to go back to August 1989 to find a lower number (94).

While no businesses filed directly, there were two household filings that involved business-related debt. That is better than in November when there were 10 business-related bankruptcies, including seven businesses that filed themselves.

All told. 75 filings were related to business failures in 2019, with 32 of them filed by the business itself.

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