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Electroindustry Business Conditions Index


​​​​The EBCI indices 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 Business Information Services

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2020  |  2019  |  2018  |  2017

December 2019

​In the wake of the vast majority of panel members’ reporting unchanged conditions, the December current conditions component narrowed to 50 points after hitting 58.8 last month. An undercurrent of unease and uncertainty rippled through many comments, touching on trade concerns, weakness in the industrial sector, and the impeachment drama. However, similar to last month’s report, the quantitative results were probably best reflected in the remark noting, “business conditions [are] steady but at a high level.  EBCI results 20191224nm.pdf

November 2019

After two months of straddling the line between signaling growth or slowdown, the EBCI current conditions component moved firmly into growth territory with a nearly 9 point increase from last month’s score to 58.8. Although the share of “better” responses increased, the preponderance of panelists noted unchanged conditions, and that mix is reflected well in the comments. The tenor of those remarks was largely unenthusiastic but somewhat positive-leaning and may be best summarized by one respondent’s note that conditions are “steady but at a strong level.”  ​EBCI results 20191127nm.pdf

October 2019

The current conditions reading held steady at 50 this month, equaling September’s index value and once again teetering on the line indicating expansion. One noteworthy change in the distribution of responses was a decline in the share of those who reported worse conditions in October compared to last month. Some panel members expressed lingering concerns about the political and policy environment as well as the general direction of the economy. Despite such reservations, other commenters pointed to steady or even improved activity in their business sectors.  ​EBCI results 20191030nm.pdf

September 2019

The current conditions component crept up to growth territory this month, bouncing back from August’s 41.2 to reach an index value of 50 in September. Although a preponderance of panel members still reported unchanged conditions, the share of responses indicating better conditions edged up several percentage points. With only brief exceptions, this measure has remained largely range-bound in the low 50s to upper 40s since mid-2018. Commenters noted weakness in both long-term and short cycle spending alongside reports of steady to strong growth.  ​EBCI results 20190927nm.pdf

August 2019

​The nearly 12 point decline in the current conditions component, which now stands at 41.2 for August, was largely driven by a drop in the share of respondents that reported better conditions, coupled with an increase of similar magnitude in the proportion that noted unchanged conditions. The current component’s relapse to a reading of less than 50 was accompanied by continuing concerns about the uncertain nature of trade and tariff policy intermixed with reports of strong markets in some sectors.  EBCI results 20190828nm.pdf

July 2019

​As one commenter noted, with “[n]o real explanation” readily available for the better than expected business conditions reported by the EBCI panel, the current conditions component leapt by more than 18 points from last month’s level to move back into expansion territory at 52.8 points in July. Although trade policy continued to weigh on business confidence, and weakness in the industrial sector was noted as well, a preponderance of panelists reported better conditions this month, and the share of those indicating worse conditions dropped sharply.  EBCI results 20190731nm.pdf

June 2019

At 34.4, the current component of the Electrical Industry Business Confidence Index suggested that business conditions may have softened in June. The nearly 16 point drop from the prior month reflected a complex mix of responses ranging from concern over the negative effects of ongoing tariff-related actions, to the salutary impact of those same trade moves, to continued or even increased strength in the market. Twenty percent of the panel reported unchanged conditions, which left the remaining 80 percent of responses evenly split between those noting better or worse conditions this month.​ EBCI results 20190626nm.pdf

May 2019

​The current conditions component edged lower for the third consecutive month in May, moving from a reading of 52.8 in April to 50.0 this month. The share of panelists who reported unchanged conditions dropped sharply, and although the proportion of respondents that indicated better conditions increased over last month, the percentage that noted worse conditions increased by an even greater amount. For better or for worse, tariffs served as the focus for most comments, but one remark simply pointed out that this has been the “best start to the year” in some time.  EBCI results 20190529nm.pdf

April 2019

Much like last month, confidence in business conditions remained in positive territory despite edging down from the previous reading. Even in the face of a half-point slide from 53.3 in March to 52.8 this month, the current component stayed above 50 for now the fourth consecutive month. The share of those reporting unchanged conditions increased over last month, while the proportion of panel members that noted either better or worse conditions decreased. Comments largely reflected the lukewarm numerical result, as perhaps the most representative remark suggested that “business seems to be good but not great.” ​EBCI results 20190424nm.pdf

March 2019

​Despite a slight drop, from 55.9 last month to 53.3 in March, the current conditions component remained in expansionary territory. The share of manufacturers that noted unchanged conditions increased as reports of both better and worse conditions ​declined. Alt​hough no glaring concerns surfaced, some comments cited policy uncertainty, especially related to tariffs, as well as the desire that federal policymakers turn their attention to the nation's infrastructure needs.​ EBCI results 20190327nm.pdf

February 2019

In edging up to 55.9 in February from 53.3 last month, the EBCI current conditions component moved further into expansionary territory and solidified a shift away from a handful of sub-50 readings late in 2018. Fewer respondents perceived a plateau this month, as the share of the panel that reported unchanged conditions declined. Although the share of those who indicated worse conditions ticked up, the proportion of those who saw better conditions outpaced them. Healthy activity on respondents’ books and some good economic news were only somewhat tempered by continued concern about instability from policymakers. EBCI results 20190227nm.pdf

January 2019

​The current conditions component moved above 50 for the first time since last August, adding 7 points to last month’s mark to reach 53.3 in January. The responses presented a much more straightforward view than in recent months as the share of respondents that noted better conditions increased compared to last month, and the proportion of those who reported unchanged or worse conditions declined. Although some comments alluded to unease because of trade policy and the partial federal government shutdown, one respondent described a solid start to the year. EBCI results 20190130nm.pdf

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