WASHINGTON (AP) _ Personal bankruptcies declined 2 percent in the past year in the first decrease since 1995, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said Tuesday.

New bankruptcies filed during the second quarter of 1999 dropped to 345,956 from a record 373,460 during the quarter a year earlier.

``While bankruptcy filings are still very high, the trend over the past six months suggests that 1999 will fall short of last year's record pace,'' said Sam Gerdano, executive director of the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Personal bankruptcies in the 12 months ending June 30, numbering 1,352,030, accounted for 97 percent of total new bankruptcies. The total number of bankruptcies in that period was 1,391,964.