Dun & Bradstreet U.S. Economic Health Tracker

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A monthly report on business-related economic trends

December 2019 Report

Dun & Bradstreet's U.S. Economic Health Tracker is a monthly, multi-dimensional review of the health of the economy. Read and download the latest report for key insight on small business, jobs, and overall business performance. Come back regularly for new updates, published the Tuesday prior to the first Friday of each month.

Perspectives

The Small Business Health Index’s 0.4-point decline on a sequential basis and 4.8% decline on an annual basis keeps it firmly in the mid-80’s range for the fifth consecutive month. The value of the index stands at 85.8 which marks a multi-year low for the Overall series. Although 3 out of 4 subcomponents of the Overall index have declined, the major one to drive the drop in the index is the business failure subcomponent which saw a 1-point decline compared to the previous month, signaling that the rate at which small businesses in distress are closing their doors have picked up significantly this month. The labor market is expected to add about 80,000 jobs in November, registering a significantly slow pace of addition compared to the pace of the past 12 months. The uncertainties surrounding the trade wars and generally slower growth of the U.S. economy may be primary reasons for the slowdown in job growth.

 

Meanwhile, Dun & Bradstreet’s Overall Business Health Index (OBHI), continues to flash warning signs regarding payment consistency and stability among US businesses. The index has fallen deeper into the high-risk category, indicating a greater number of firms will pay later, record defaults or become no longer viable in the months ahead. The move lower in the OBHI is bucking the broader macroeconomic trend and acting contrary to other comparable economic indicators which have stabilized in recent weeks. The persistent drop in the overall index indicates that the payment cycle continues to turn.

Methodology

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 November 29, 2019.