Mixed picture on small business borrowing in Nov

MIXED BORROWING PICTURE: Small business borrowing fell in November, according to the Thomson Reuters/PayNet monthly index of small business lending, which fell to 111.4 from 117.8 in October. However, the average daily amount of money small businesses borrowed rose, says William Phelan, president of Paynet. That's a sign that companies are taking out loans and leases to buy equipment and expand. The index is compiled from databases kept by PayNet, which provides credit ratings on small companies.

WHAT'S GOING ON: Small businesses are getting more demand for their goods and services, Phelan says. That is encouraging borrowing, and it's likely contributing to the increase in hiring seen recently. The payroll company ADP reported that its small business clients added 102,000 jobs in November, a jump over October's 61,000.

THE BAD NEWS: Companies are taking slightly longer to pay their bills. A Thomson Reuters/PayNet index of small business delinquencies rose 0.01 percent in November. Delinquencies are a concern, but Phelan says that is a sign that companies are willing to take more risks. That trend can help lift economic growth.

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