In December the construction and trucking industries were the leading boosters of the under-performing sectors in the Monthly Leasing and Finance Index, as reported by The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association. The index reports economic activity for the $628 billion equipment finance sector.

New business volume for December was $10.8 billion, up 20 percent from volume of $9.0 billion in the same period in 2010. Volume was up 74 percent from the previous month. Cumulative new business volume for 2011 rose 25 percent over 2010.

Credit quality metrics remained relatively steady. Receivables over 30 days rose slightly to 2.1 percent in December from 2.0 percent in November. Charge-offs were unchanged at 0.7 percent for the third consecutive month.

Credit standards eased as the number of lease applications approved increased dramatically to 79.3 percent from 76.2 percent the previous month. 70.8 percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during December, up from 65.5 percent the previous month.

Finally, total headcount for equipment finance companies in December was unchanged month to month and down 1.0 percent year over year. Supplemental data show that the construction and trucking industries again led the underperforming sectors.

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for January is 59.0, an increase from the December index of 57.2, indicating improved optimism about business activity amid continuing concerns about the global economic situation.

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