Jun 7, 2023 - Economy

Corporate bankruptcies this year are the highest since 2010

U.S. bankruptcy filings
Data: S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

Corporate bankruptcies so far this year are at levels last seen back in 2010 when the economy was tentatively recovering from a catastrophic recession, per a new report from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Why it matters: Now, we're not in a recession or even close to one — instead, the bankruptcies are a result of the rapid interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Zoom out: For companies that weren't doing so hot before the rate hikes, the end of cheap money sealed their fate.

  • When ultra-easy access to funding dries up, the spigot shuts off for companies that probably shouldn’t be borrowing more anyway.

There was a flurry of bankruptcy filings early in the month —  with seven large Chapter 11s in a two-day span.

  • The pace slowed after that — there were 54 bankruptcies filed in all of May, a slight tick up from the prior month — and lower than in March when 70 companies filed, per S&P's report.
  • Well-known brands that succumbed to Chapter 11 this year include Bed Bath & Beyond, Party City, and mattress maker Serta Simmons.
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