Credit Managers' Index Could Start 2017 with Large Split between Those Improving and Those in Trouble

Business is rebounding, but some problems are not likely to go away soon, according to preliminary data in the latest NACM Credit Managers’ Index (CMI), which will be released Tuesday morning at The numbers in December’s CMI results showed a nice bounce, so the question is whether the trend will continue or shrink back to the less-than-stellar performance found in previous months.

Expect the January CMI to show little change from the previous month’s numbers, but preliminary data indicates a possible split between favorable and unfavorable factors. “It is safe to assert that about half the companies out there are starting to see some real improvement in their prospects, while others are in real trouble and can’t find a way to dig out of all this,” said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D.

Momentum that built through 2016 increased after the U.S. presidential elections amid promises of more business-friendly policies. “It is not yet clear whether these will come to fruition, but there remains some feeling of optimism,” Kuehl said.

Preliminary data shows a developing excitement about the coming year among manufacturers, who may be moving toward increasing investment in capital goods. The improvement in the nation’s capacity utilization numbers are expected to be reflected in the data. In the service sector, the last retail season was thought to be a moment of truth to prove if retailers were to survive. Questions remain on the number of companies struggling to pay their debts, and whether the strains that have been affecting retail and construction, the two most represented industries in the survey, will be reflected in the report.

– Adam Fusco, editorial associate

For a complete breakdown of the manufacturing and service sector data and graphics, view the January 2017 report on Tuesday morning by clicking here. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.

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