updated 8/28/2006 7:44:09 PM ET 2006-08-28T23:44:09

Bankruptcy filings fell more than 9 percent in the last year and reached the lowest level in about five years, according to data released Monday by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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During the 12-month period that ended June 30, there were about 1.5 million bankruptcy cases filed in federal courts compared with more than 1.6 million in the year-ago period.

It was the smallest number of filings since the 12-month period ended September 2001, according to the federal court data.

There were 31,562 businesses that filed for bankruptcy, a 2.6 percent decrease compared with 32,406 in the year-ago period.

Filings under Chapters 7, 11, and 13 all fell, while only Chapter 12 filings rose with 360 compared with 290 in the year-ago period. Chapter 12 is an extension of Chapter 11, which protects companies from creditors' lawsuits while reorganizing, and applies to family farms.

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