Small business bankruptcies fell in the second quarter ended June 30, shrinking by nearly 17% from the previous quarter, according to Equifax's Small Business Bankruptcy Report.

It marks the fourth straight quarterly decline in the total number of small business bankruptcies since the second quarter of 2011 and the lowest for the second quarter since 2007.  The number of business bankruptcies peaked in the second quarter of 2009.

Equifax data shows nearly all of the 15 Metropolitan Statistical Areas topping the list of the greatest number of small business bankruptcies in the second quarter remained largely unchanged since the year-ago period. All were among the top ranking a year ago.  However, all other top ranking MSAs, including several California markets, experienced declines in excess of 20% over the past year.

"Small business owners are still steadfastly deleveraging, bringing their debts, assets and cash flows into better alignment; couple that with promising signals in small business lending, and business owners are better positioned to stay afloat," said Amy Crews Cutts, a senior vice president and chief economist at Equifax. 

Equifax analyzed Chapter 7, 11 and 13 filings, as part of its comparative study on small business bankruptcy petitions quarter over quarter. Equifax classifies a small business as a commercial entity of fewer than 100 employees.  

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