The Small Business Health index raises optimism this month by halting its M/M declining spree after 3 straight months, although it continues to decline on a Y/Y basis. Financial Services and Automotive both show above 3% gains on the M/M basis and above 10% gains on the Y/Y basis. Many other sectors also start showing M/M increases while Y/Y declines continue. In the U.S. labor market, Dun & Bradstreet estimates 142,000 new non-farm jobs added to the payrolls in September 2019. Education and health services saw the fastest growth, and trade, transportation and utilities was next. Manufacturing employment has barely grown in 2019 so far. The next few months will be very critical to see if the faint signals of optimism will be strengthen or not.
Meanwhile the Overall Business Health Index declined to a low in August last reached in November 2013 amid still weakening levels in our Commercial Credit Score (CCS). The CCS which predicts the likelihood of a business paying in a severely delinquent manner (91+ DPD) fell to a just over eight-year low. The score has been below the 50% dividing line separating business in low versus high risk for 10 consecutive months, the longest streak since November 2013. The continued drop in the overall index likely means the payment cycle is continuing to turn.
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 September 29, 2019.