The number of small business bankruptcies continued to decline for the fourth straight quarter, shrinking by nearly 17 percent in the second quarter of this year, compared to the first quarter.

Credit-reporting provider Equifax said Tuesday that the second quarter of this year had the lowest number of small business bankruptcies in the U.S. for the second quarter since 2007. The number of business bankruptcies peaked in the second quarter of 2009.

"The shrinking number of small business bankruptcies is not surprising," said Equifax senior vice president and chief economist Amy Crews Cutts in a statement.  "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."

With the exception of the metropolitan statistical area encompassing New York City, White Plains, N.Y., and Wayne, N.J.—which saw an 11 percent spike in small business bankruptcy petitions relative to second quarter of 2011—Equifax data showed that nearly all of the 15 MSAs topping the list of those with the greatest number of small business bankruptcies in the second quarter of 2012 remained largely unchanged since Q2 2011; all were among the top ranking a year ago. Nevertheless, all other top-ranking MSAs, including several California markets, experienced declines in excess of 20 percent over the past year.

To view a complete listing of the top ranking small business bankruptcy filings by MSA, visit

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