The January Credit Managers' Index (CMI), published by the National Association of Credit Management (NACM), dipped slightly as it painted the picture of an economy in transition.
To find the kind of variety found in the most recent edition of the CMI, one would have to travel all the way back to 2008, in the months that preceded the slide into the recession. For every sign that things were deteriorating at that time, there was a part of the index that looked solid and unaffected by the impending crisis. Now, however, that transition is showing again, but seems to point in the opposite direction: for every factor suggesting that the economy is still in the doldrums, there are one or two other factors that point to better days ahead.
For example, while sales improved in this month's report, new credit applications declined, signaling potential trouble ahead. "The number for new credit applications is important in that it tends to anticipate the gains some of the other factors will have later,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD. “If there is not much in the way of new credit activity, it is a signal that fewer companies are in expansion mode."
The complete CMI report for January 2013 contains more commentary, complete with tables and graphs and individual data for the manufacturing and services sectors. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.