Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI)
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.
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Mirroring reports of a broadly surging manufacturing sector, the current conditions component reached its all-time most expansive reading in April, hitting 89.5 points. The nearly 10-point increase from the previous month resulted in part from a drop in the share of participants who reported unchanged conditions, with additional impetus from having no respondents indicate worse conditions in April. Although the quantitative score was undoubtedly upbeat, comments suggested that some categories remained sluggish, while others faced supply constraints in trying to keep up with demand. EBCI results 202104nm
For the tenth consecutive month, the EBCI current conditions component topped 50 points, indicating conditions conducive to growth. March's reading of 80 built on an already robust 64.3 in February and was driven by two-thirds of survey respondents' indicating better conditions. Fewer than 10 percent noted worse conditions while the remainder saw things as unchanged. Electroindustry shipments and new orders data reported by the Census Bureau buttressed this result as both have grown rapidly in the two most recent monthly reports. Some panelists pointed to slower or delayed activity, but most noted improvements in the economic environment and on the pandemic front. EBCI results 202103nm
Although we noticed some concern about the ephemeral nature of optimism regarding business conditions, the current conditions component expanded to 64.3 in February, compared to 60 last month. The majority of respondents noted unchanged conditions, and the share indicating worse conditions edged down slightly, leading to the modest improvement seen in the topline measure. EBCI results 202102nm
The re-imposition of some business restrictions in response to an early-January surge in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, combined with a slower-than-expected vaccine rollout, reined in the panel’s expectations, which otherwise appeared poised to charge ahead. Alongside a slight reduction in the share of respondents reporting worse conditions, a majority of respondents reported an unchanged business environment in January, pushing the current conditions component to 60.0, a nearly imperceptible increase over December’s 57.7 reading. EBCI results 202101nm