The Small Business Health index declined for the third consecutive month and continued to decline on a Y/Y basis as well. The index stands at 86.1, the lowest level in the last 12 months. This primarily highlights the deteriorated payment performance within the small business population. Business Services and Manufacturing show the first and second highest declines, while Financial Services and Automotive show significant gains on the Y/Y basis. The labor market continues to edge to full employment with 153,000 new non-farm jobs projected to be added to the U.S. payrolls in August 2019. Although the labor market remains sufficiently tight, the prognosis for small businesses in the final quarter of 2019 remains subdued due to slowing global growth. Businesses of all sizes also remain concerned about the uncertainty projected by the ongoing trade was between US and China.
Meanwhile the Overall Business Health Index held steady in July but remained near a multi-year low. All three subcomponents continued to decline on an annual basis, with the annual decline in the Commercial Credit Score component accelerating at the fastest pace since January 2012—a time when firms were still struggling to emerge from the previous recession. This month’s inversion of the yield curve between government bonds of two- and ten-year duration raise the prospects of a restriction in available credit from lending firms. The recent deterioration in our Commercial Credit Score and more broadly the Overall Business Health Index indicates that financial risks for firms have been on the rise since late 2018 and any restriction in credit availability may further push the economy towards recession.
The Small Business Health Index measures year-over-year small business performance through payment patterns and credit use. U.S. Jobs Health combines Small Business Health Index industry data with BLS figures to forecast monthly nonfarm payroll employment. The U.S. Overall Business Health Index provides a weighted average of Dun & Bradstreet’s Viability Score, Delinquency Predictor and Total Loss Predictor. The index ranges from zero (with all businesses recording high levels of risk) to 100% (with all businesses recording low levels of risk). Report based on data available as of August 29, 2019.