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Electroindustry Business Conditions Index


​The EBCI indexes are based on the results of a monthly survey of senior managers at NEMA member companies and are designed to provide a measure of changes in the business environment facing electrical equipment manufacturers.

For more information, e-mail NEMA's Business Information Services.

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2018  |  2017

October 2018

An uptick in the share of respondents that reported unchanged conditions, combined with a decline in the number of responses indicating a worsening business environment, have boosted the current component of the EBCI to an expansionary reading by the narrowest of margins. October’s score of 50.0 is nearly 4 points higher than last month’s. The underlying distribution reflects conditions that have been perceived as positive for 24 months and are now finely balanced with equal upside and downside risks. ​EBCI results 20181031nm.pdf

September 2018

September 2018‘s reading of 46.4 marks the first time since September 2016 that the current conditions component dipped below 50. With the exception of a one-month blip in June, the current conditions measure has been generally trending down since February of this year. Although fully half of the panel reported unchanged conditions, the share of those noting worse conditions increased by 10 percentage points from August’s results. Comments were mixed, with one mentioning transportation bottlenecks as a limiting factor. ​EBCI results 20180926nm.pdf

August 2018

​The current conditions component declined slightly in August, but remained in expansionary territory at 53.8. A majority of respondents indicated conditions were unchanged from last month’s robust business environment. Interestingly, the share of those who reported better conditions crept up marginally but so did the proportion that noted facing worse conditions. Several panel members mentioned tariffs were a concern and in more than one case had already begun affecting their businesses. EBCI results 20180831nm.pdf

July 2018

The current component of the EBCI pulled back sharply in July, but remained above the level indicative of conditions conducive to growth at 53.8. The 15.4 point fall from the previous month was the steepest such decline since December 2015, but was less a sign of deteriorating conditions than of hitting a plateau as all of the change was attributable to a substantially greater share of respondents noting that conditions were unchanged. EBCI results 20180727nm.pdf

June 2018

​A nine point jump brought June's current conditions component to its highest reading since January of this year. Although a larger share of respondents noted worse conditions this month than last, those reporting better conditions constituted a majority in June, helping to bring the overall score to 69.2. The solid topline number was tempered by respondent comments that pointed to an undercurrent of uncertainty along with sector specific struggles brought about by trade actions and the tax bill. EBCI results 20180628nm.pdf

May 2018

The current conditions component of the EBCI remained essentially flat in May, ticking down by statistically imperceptible 0.7 points from April to a value of 60.0 this month. The share of respondents that reported better conditions edged down by a slight percentage while those who noted unchanged conditions edged up by a similarly small margin. Panel member commentary largely supported the numerical results, with mostly positive remarks about activity levels shaded by trade and raw material cost concerns. ​EBCI results 20180531nm.pdf

April 2018

Current conditions facing the electroindusty held steady in April at an index value of 6 0.7, matching last month's reading exactly. The share of respondents reporting better conditions increased somewhat, but so did the share of those indicating worse conditions. Recent Census Bureau data point to a slight decline in the value of shipments in the broad electrical equipment sector even as orders activity ticked up, a situation touched upon in one respondent’s comment. ​EBCI results 20180430nm.pdf

March 2018

​Although the year has started more slowly than some of the panel would prefer, there were no complaints about the current conditions facing the electroindustry this month—literally no complaints. With not even a single response indicating worse conditions, the current conditions component ticked down imperceptibly from 61.8 to 60.7 as most panel members noted unchanged conditions. Census Bureau reporting on electroindustry shipments shows some improvement so far this quarter, which lends support to the expansionary level of current conditions suggested by the survey results. EBCI results 20180328nm.pdf

February 2018

Some EBCI panel members noted softer conditions in February relative to the strength of recent months. The share of those reporting worse conditions this month increased while the proportion of “better” responses declined, lending quantitative support to the anecdotal information. Despite sliding nearly 10 points to 61.8, February’s current conditions component remained firmly in expansionary territory. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau data depicted a similar mixed for last December when year over year electroindustry shipments grew by almost 4 percent while new orders ticked down slightly. ​EBCI results 20180228nm.pdf

January 2018

The current conditions component of the electroindustry business confidence index moved up from 66.7 in December to 71.4 this month. Fully one-half of the survey panel noted better conditions in January as the share of those indicating an unchanged business environment declined. Although the proportion of respondents reporting worse conditions edged up, one such member’s comment made it clear that January was worse only because the previous month was “amazing.” The expansionary reading of current conditions in January marked the 16th consecutive month this component topped 50, making it the longest such stretch since before the last recession. It is worth nothing that this upbeat sentiment has yet to materialize in hard data for some segments of the electroindustry such as lighting and manufacturing-related equipment, which have experienced declining shipment numbers reported by the U.S. Census Bureau on a year-over-year basis for most of 2017.​ EBCI results 20180131nm.pdf

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