Increased demand for motors in the first quarter of 2013 drove NEMA’s Motors Shipments Index, up by 18.6 percent from the previous quarter to the highest reading in the history of this index. This improvement follows on the heels of a 7.4 percent gain posted in the fourth quarter of 2012. Since bottoming out in the second quarter of 2009, during the depths of the Great Recession, the index has climbed a cumulative 57 percent. Growth in the fractional horsepower segment of the motors market rebounded strongly in the first quarter while integral horsepower motor shipments recorded a moderate gain after falling for two consecutive quarters. The inflation adjusted dollar value of fractional horsepower motors shipments more than doubled between the second quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2013. Moreover, the value of integral horsepower motors shipments increased 12 percent over the same period.
The jump in the motors shipments index coincided with accelerated manufacturing activity in the first quarter of 2013. However, manufacturing sector industrial production lost momentum moving into the second quarter as output declined 0.3 percent in March and 0.4 percent in April. Still, the forward-looking ISM manufacturing index for new orders hovered above the “break even” mark of 50 on average for March and April. Industrial production is forecasted to advance 2.3 percent year-over-year for 2013, before picking up to the upper 2 percent range in 2014 amidst improved domestic and global demand.
NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.
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