The September release of small business investment trends prepared by PayNet illustrates the small business economy is experiencing unspectacular but steady expansion.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index (SBLI) decreased 6% to 109.7 from 116.6 in August. However, compared to a year ago, the SBLI is up 16%, the largest year-over-year percentage increase since July 2012.

Trend line growth for third quarter is averaging 10%, driven by demand for grains in the Agriculture sector, building of infrastructure for Energy exploration and development and some housing activity. Meanwhile, the Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Delinquency Index (SBDI) is flat at 1.18% September. 2013 will be marked as the historic low-point for small business credit risk but higher risk is a positive for the economy as it suggests businesses are making efforts to develop opportunities.

“Current growth is not explosive, but it is still growth which is good. A steady pace of growth may be more sustainable as it avoids the ups and downs of a boom and bust cycle,” said William Phelan, president of PayNet.