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Bankruptcies down in first half of 2011

Bankruptcies for consumers dropped by 8 percent in the first half of the year from the same period last year. Consumer bankruptcies were 5 percent lower in June 2011 than June 2010.

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In this Dec. 14, 2007 file photo, a traveler uses a Delta SkyMiles credit card to buy an airline e-ticket at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. The number of consumer bankruptcies fell from last year, showing that Americans are pulling back on consumer credit and trying to pay off household debt, says Samuel J. Gerdano, the executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Damian Dovarganes / AP / File

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WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - U.S. consumer bankruptcies fell 8 percent in the first half of 2011 from the same period last year as households cut debt and the economy recovered, according to data released Tuesday.

The number of U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings fell to 709,303 in the first six months of 2011 from 770,117 last year, according to a report by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

For June, consumer bankruptcies were down 5 percent at 119,768, from 126,270 a year ago, the data showed.

``The drop in bankruptcies for the first half of the year shows the continued efforts of consumers to reduce their household debt and the overall pull back in consumer credit,'' ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano said.

The report said the U.S. economy has continued its sluggish recovery from the deep 2007-2009 recession. The unemployment rate at the beginning of 2011 had dropped to 9 percent from 9.7 percent at the start of 2010.

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