Credit managers score economy at its strongest since July

Amid reports of slower economic growth and falling consumer confidence, companies’ credit managers have given the economy their best rating in nine months.

A monthly survey by the National Association of Credit Management generated a strong reading on economic activity in April. An index produced from survey responses climbed to 54.6 this month from 54.3 in March.

The new reading is the highest since July. Any reading above 50 indicates the economy is growing.

The index looks at factors favorable to growth, such as sales and new credit applications, as well as unfavorable factors, such as bankruptcy filings and credit rejections. Favorable factors as a group weakened in April, but unfavorable ones improved.

“This indicates that there are some signs that troubled companies are coming out of their crises, while stronger companies continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace,” Chris Kuehl, economist for the association, said in a report on the April survey.

Release of the monthly credit managers survey precedes the more widely followed survey of purchasing managers by the Institute of Supply Management, which will be released Monday.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar