The data is out for new bankruptcy filings in January of 2016, and the trend of fewer filings continues. In fact, last January’s numbers were the lowest since 2008, and greatly lower than the number of filings from 2010 and 2011, when the worst of the recession was upon the Chicago area. Statistics from the Northern Illinois District of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court show that trend towards lower bankruptcy rates should be here to stay as the economic recovery continues.

For the Northern Illinois District, numbers of total bankruptcies peaked above 64,000 in 2010, before beginning to decline. For 2015, this number was finally below 50,000 for the first time since 2008, when the number of filings began to increase dramatically due to the recession.

January is generally one of the lighter months for bankruptcy filings, with a spike in bankruptcies generally happening around March of each year. For example, in 2015, there were 3,602 filings in January, with 4,934 in March. In 2010, these same months had 4,306 and 6,668 cases each.

Chicago Residents More Likely to File

Chicago residents are much more likely to file for bankruptcy when compared with residents of other cities around the country. For example, in January of 2013 Chicago residents filed bankruptcy at twice the average national rate. This holds true statewide as well. For all of 2014, Illinois ranked fourth worst nationally for the number of bankruptcies, according to federal statistics. Only Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee had more bankruptcies per capita. With national averages at 2.8 bankruptcies per 1,000 people, the Illinois rate of 4.68 per 1,000 means that many more metro residents need a Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

While Chicago residents may continue to file bankruptcies more frequently than residents of other cities, for now it appears that numbers are beginning to get back to more reasonable levels. These are levels not seen since before the recession really hit in 2008. For instance, the average number of daily filings in 2008 was 110. In the first month of 2016, this average was 103. While the March spike in filings will almost certainly drive this average higher, 2016 may be the first year since the recession began that bankruptcy rates drop back to near their pre-recession levels.