In this month’s economic tracker Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary economic indicators were once again mixed. On the one hand the Small Business Health Index rose for two consecutive months, reaching a 27-month high in March as the failure ratio continued to decline to multi-year lows. The failure ratio, which compares the survival rate of small businesses over the prior year, currently hovers around an over four-year best level. Meanwhile, on the labor front we forecast that 189,000 jobs were added to nonfarm payrolls in April—a slightly above average figure for the current expansion. However, forecast gains were not recorded equally across all verticals with forecast declines in the retail trade and manufacturing verticals likely this month. Additionally, our Overall Business Health Index, a broad measure of Dun & Bradstreet’s standard risk scores fell to a near four-year low in March as all active and open businesses in D&B’s commercial database continue to move into a more elevated risk environment.
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 April 30, 2019.