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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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.
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.”
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.