The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Business Bankruptcies Rose 48% in May

June 05, 2020

Article by Katy Stech Ferek in The Wall Street Journal

Corporate bankruptcies spiked during May as the coronavirus pandemic slammed the U.S. economy, pushing the number of filings to levels recorded in the wake of the 2007-09 recession.

U.S. courts recorded 722 businesses nationwide filing for chapter 11 protection last month, a yearly increase of 48%, according to figures from legal-services firm Epiq Global. In May 2019, a total of 487 businesses filed for that type of bankruptcy, which lets corporations resolve their financial problems and continue operating.

The data also showed a month-to-month increase. May’s filings were up 28% from the 562 recorded in April.

The number of corporate bankruptcies this May matches the tally from May 2011, when the scars of the recession were still fresh.

A number of prominent companies filed for bankruptcy last month, including retailers J.C. Penney Co., Neiman Marcus Group Inc. and J.Crew Group Inc., along with the management company behind two leading Lasik surgery brands, the U.S. division of bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien, Gold’s Gym International Inc. and generic drugmaker Akorn Inc.

Some legal experts have called for Congress to increase the number of bankruptcy judges to ease the potential workload.

“I think we’re going to see an extraordinary number of large corporate bankruptcies, not just in the U.S. but across the globe,” Mr. Conlan said.

“I think we’re going to see an extraordinary number of large corporate bankruptcies, not just in the U.S. but across the globe,” Mr. Conlan said ...

To read this article in The Wall Street Journal in its entirety, click here.

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