WAIN Street Business Default Index shows business credit quality strongest in four years

Business Default Index improves by 0.19% to close 2013 at 6.25%
Broad improvements across industry, geography and business size

WAIN Street reported Thursday that the Business Default Index posted a 0.19% improvement in December—its third consecutive monthly improvement—to close the year at 6.25%—its best reading in four years. The index is quoted as a seasonally adjusted, annualized default rate. An increase in the index corresponds to deterioration in business credit quality. In December, nearly 5% more businesses improved in credit quality than deteriorated. Businesses of all sizes across industries and geographies improved during 2013.

“2013 ended on a high note with most economic indicators painting a picture of better days ahead. Businesses fared better and that was reflected in their credit performance during the year”, said Vidur Dhanda, Publisher, WAIN Street. “A frequent question in 2013 was ‘Are we there yet?’ and the year ended with another question: Will the job market play spoiler?” continued Dhanda as he struck a cautious note about “weak wage growth and low labor force participation rate being a drag on consumer spending”.

Highlights from the Q4 2013 report:

  • LA, SD, AK, and VA businesses lead the nation in credit quality
  • NV, AZ, and IL businesses have the worst credit quality
  • Manufacturing sector businesses have highest default rate
  • “Leisure & hospitality” and “Other services” sector businesses have the highest credit quality
  • Mining sector businesses posted biggest improvement in credit quality

The WAIN Street Business Default Index is computed monthly based on the credit performance of nearly 18 million US businesses that have been tracked by WAIN Street for over 12 months. WAIN Street’s newsletter, Taking the Pulse, helps readers peel back the layers and zoom into the nuances and variations in business credit quality.