Credit Managers Index (CMI)

Credit Managers Index (CMI)

The Credit Managers' Index (CMI) is a monthly economic indicator produced by the National Association of Credit Management of financial activity reflecting credit managers’ responses to levels of favorable and unfavorable factors.

The CMI data analysis is currently performed by Armada Corporate Intelligence Economist Chris Kuehl, PhD, who also serves NACM economic advisor. The CMI is compiled by polling credit and finance professionals in the service and manufacturing sectors. Typically, it is generally released on the last business day of each month.


The CMI launched in February 2002. The index, published since January 2003, is based on a survey of upwards of 1,000 trade credit managers in the second half of each month, with about equal representation between the manufacturing and service sectors. The survey asks respondents to comment on whether they are seeing improvement, declining conditions or no change for various favorable and unfavorable factors. There is representation from across the nation.

The computation of seasonal factors is based on the formula used by the U.S. Census Bureau/Commerce Department and most of the federal government’s statistical gathering standards, making it possible to compare the CMI diffusion index with similar indices, such as those from the purchasing, supply chain managers and others.

Factors Making Up the Diffusion Index Ten equally weighted items comprise the index. These items are classified into two categories:

Favorable factors:

  • Sales
  • New credit applications
  • Dollar collections
  • Amount of credit extended

Unfavorable factors:

  • Rejections of credit applications
  • Accounts placed for collection
  • Disputes
  • Dollar amount beyond terms
  • Dollar amount of customer deductions
  • Filings for bankruptcies


A diffusion index is calculated for each item with the overall CMI representing simple average of the 10 items. Survey responses for each item capture the change—higher, lower or the same—in the prevent month compared to the previous month.

For positive indicators, the calculation is: Number of “higher” responses plus ½ multiplied by the number of “same” responses and then divided by the total number of responses.

For negative indicators, the calculation is: Number of “lower” responses + ½ multiplied by the number of “same” responses and then divided by the total number of responses

A resulting CMI number of more than 50 indicates an economy in expansion; less than 50 indicates contraction.


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