Showing minor improvement, the December report of the Credit Managers’ Index (CMI) from the National Association of Credit Management (NACM) ended the year modestly at 52.8. Since November’s index, the combined score increased by 0.2 points, an upward easing that is essentially a “flat” reading, according to NACM Economist Chris Kuehl, Ph.D.

“The good news is that the numbers did not dip as some had expected,” Kuehl said. “The other good news is that most of the stability was in the unfavorable categories and that is slightly more encouraging as far as the future is concerned.”

The four subcategories within the index of favorable factors all remained well above the 50.0 contraction zone, while the three of the six subcategories within the index of unfavorable factors remained below it. However, the overall score of the unfavorable index emerged from negative territory at 50.3.

“Granted, this is a razor-thin margin and no reason for wild celebration, but the reading this month is still better than it has been since August,” Kuehl said.

The manufacturing sector did not reflect the same outlook, with the subcategories of sales and amount of credit extended dramatically declining. The index of unfavorable factors showed slight improvement, but still remained in the contraction zone. The service sector, however, improved with positive activity occurring in the retail and construction industries.

For a full breakdown of the manufacturing and service sector data and graphics, view the complete December 2015 report. CMI archives may also be viewed on NACM’s website.

NACM, headquartered in Columbia, MD, supports more than 14,000 business credit and financial professionals worldwide with industry services, tools and information.