Statewide, an average of 104 new bankruptcy cases were filed daily, the same rate as in October and up from 96 in September. Experts say the pace should slow down over the holiday season and pick up early next year.

Bankruptcy filings in Washington state continued at a fast pace in November.

Statewide, an average of 104 new cases were filed daily, the same rate as in October and up from 96 in September. Experts say the pace should slow down over the holiday season and pick up early next year.

This year’s number of bankruptcy filings is already the highest since Congress passed a law three years ago making it harder for families to wipe away their debts.

Local bankruptcy attorneys say that the one-two punch of declining housing prices and tight credit is making it harder for families to stay afloat if the breadwinner gets laid off.

From January to November, more than 19,000 new cases were filed statewide, a 40 percent increase over a year ago. The increase is steeper in some counties: Filings jumped 86 percent in Kittitas County; 63 percent in Clark and Franklin counties; and 56 percent in Kitsap County.

Geoff Crump, chief operating officer of HopeSource in Kittitas County, says the agency has seen a significant increase in requests for aid to pay utility bills. The local food bank is serving 50 percent more households than it did in the spring, he said.

King, Pierce, Clark, and Snohomish counties led the state in the total increase in filings. Together, they accounted for 60 percent of the increase in bankruptcies in Washington.

Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or sbhatt@seattletimes.com