The above chart shows total outstanding Commercial & Industrial Loans (a proxy for bank lending to small and medium-sized business) over the past four months (As of 10/25/13). After being relatively stagnant for most of the summer, C&I Loans have grown 2% in the past three weeks, bringing their year-over-year growth rate to a respectable 8.8%.
Since late 2010, C&I Loans have grown by fully one third, and are now very near their all-time high.
The continued and relatively strong growth of bank lending to businesses is a good omen for the future, since it reflects increased confidence on the part of banks and businesses. Capital goods orders may be sluggish (see previous post), but there are still bright spots to be found in the private sector.