For the first time in six years, bankruptcy filings fell last year across the country, including Florida, an indication that more consumers are winding their way out of debt.
Nationwide, bankruptcy filings fell 12 percent to 1.38 million in 2011, down from 1.56 million in 2010, according to an American Bankruptcy Institute report released Wednesday. The drop was across the board, with Chapter 7, 11 and 13 filings all decreasing.
The improvement was even stronger in Florida, where total filings fell 16 percent last year to about 93,000, the lowest total since 2008.
Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director of the bankruptcy institute, said the lower numbers reflect an ongoing pullback in consumer spending.
"As consumers continue to deleverage their debt and access to credit remains tight, bankruptcy filings will continue to decrease," he said in a statement.
Bankruptcies fell dramatically in 2005 after an overhaul of bankruptcy law restrictions made it tougher to file. Filings had increased every year since then, until now.