NACM's Credit Managers' Index (CMI) faltered a bit in September after a robust showing the previous month. "That gain was short-lived as this month there was a bit of a decline. The data is still pretty firmly in the expansion zone, but not as robustly as was the case earlier," said NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D.
The combined CMI slipped from 55.2 in August to 54.1 in September. "The numbers are not as good as they were in August, but they have hardly fallen off the map," Kuehl said of the favorable categories. Meanwhile, the unfavorables only declined two-tenths of a point and remained in expansion territory (a score over 50).
Manufacturing was hampered by setbacks in both the favorables and unfavorables. The index saw its overall reading dip more than a point. "The sense is that trends will be more negative as the trade war grinds on and more tariffs come into play," Kuehl said.
The service sector also had signs of weakness; however, the unfavorables improved by a tenth of a point. Filings for bankruptcies improved slightly in September. "The success of the retail season will determine whether there will be more bankruptcies toward the beginning of next year," Kuehl noted.
"The data this month was slightly less impressive than last month, but the declines were not steep," Kuehl said. "The exception was that sales numbers tanked, and that worries analysts down the road."
-Michael Miller, managing editor