The seasonally adjusted Credit Manager's Index for October improved to 51, from 49.8 in September, according to a report released last week by the National Association of Credit Management.

The index, a gauge of economic factors affecting credit and collection professionals, was up 6.2 points from October 2008. A score above 50 indicates economic expansion and last month's reading was the first in more than a year to do that.

"Not only has there been some expansion in terms of credit availability, but there continues to be evidence that companies are catching up on their debt," Chris Kuehl, the association's economist, said in a press release.

The index comprises four favorable factors, including sales and the amount of credit extended, and six unfavorable ones, such as accounts placed for collection and bankruptcy filings.

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