NACM’s November Credit Managers’ Index Eases Growth, Still Positive

The November Credit Managers’ Index from the National Association of Credit Management decreased slightly after hitting a 15-year high in October. The overall score of 57.9, which was down half a point from October, is the second-highest reading in the last 12 months.

“The optimism that seems to be manifesting in November’s CMI is an indication that credit managers are looking ahead — as they always do,” Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., an economist at the NACM, said.

Despite a decline of nearly eight points from October to November, sales still sit at 66.5 and lead the way for the favorable factors. New credit applications, dollar collections and amount of credit extended each fell several points in November. New credit applications slipped to 63.9 from 65.2, dollar collections declined from 64.6 to 62.6 and amount of credit extended dropped from 68 to 64.8. Overall, the combined favorables declined from 68 to 64.4.

The unfavorable factors were all back in expansion territory with scores above 50 in November. Rejections of credit applications inched forward from 51.4 in October to 51.5 in November. Accounts placed for collection jumped from 49.5 to 56.2. Disputes were the only factor to decline from 51 to 50.6. Dollar amount beyond terms also crept forward a tenth of a point to 58.1. Dollar amount of customer deductions hit 51.7, up from 51 in October. Filings for bankruptcies made it back to levels seen earlier this year and late last year at 53 after a reading of 50.7 in October. The combined unfavorables improved from 51.9 to 53.5 in November.

Manufacturing Sector

The manufacturing sector experienced a month-over-month decline from 58.8 to 58.6.

“Manufacturing has managed to escape a certain amount of the economic carnage that came with the pandemic,” Kuehl said. “In some ways, the shifts in consumer activity was a benefit to some manufacturers.”

The favorables fell from 67.9 to 64.3, while the unfavorables improved from 52.6 to 54.8. Sales, dollar collections and amount of credit extended dropped month to month, but new credit applications increased from 62 to 62.4 in November. Sales sat at 69.9 in November after being at 75.3 in October. Dollar collections dipped from 65 to 62.3, and amount of credit extended fell from 69.4 to 62.6. All but one unfavorable factor — disputes — sat in expansion territory. Rejections of credit applications fell from 52.8 to 52.5, the only other factor to decline in November. Accounts placed for collection skyrocketed from 51.4 to 63, while dollar amount beyond terms at 58.9 and dollar amount of customer deductions at 51 improved slightly. Filings for bankruptcies went from 51.2 to 53.7 in November.

Services Sector

The service sector was much of the same, with declines in the favorables and stability in the unfavorables. The sector’s overall score declined from 58 to 57.2 from October to November. The favorables dropped from 68.1 to 64.6, and the unfavorables improved from 51.3 to 52.2. Sales sank 10 points to 63.1, new credit applications dropped three points to 65.4 and dollar collections fell about a point and a half. Amount of credit extended increased 0.4 points to 67 in November. Rejections of credit applications improved slightly to 50.4. Accounts placed for collection sank further into contraction at 49.4, the same as it was in September.

Disputes improved from 50.5 to 51.4, dollar amount of customer deductions went from 51.5 to 52.4 and filings for bankruptcies improved from 50.3 to 52.4. Dollar amount beyond terms decreased slightly from 57.7 to 57.4.

“The retail community has not been hit as hard as it was earlier this year, but the curtailing of traditional holiday travel and activity has taken its toll,” Kuehl said. “Thus far, the CMI data has not reflected this latest round of restrictions, but these are expected to have an impact in the coming month.”

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