Coming in at 57.7, the current conditions component remained in expansionary territory for December. The decline from 78.1 points a month earlier was driven by a sharp increase in the share of respondents who noted unchanged conditions. Reports of worse conditions remained a relatively small fraction of all responses. Comments reflected a picture of continued, though marginal, improvement in the current environment faced by electrical manufacturers.
Following a modest stumble in October, confidence in electroindustry business conditions surged once again, reaching 78.1 in November. A majority of respondents noted "better" conditions, but some residual of "worse" conditions response remained. Comments were generally reflective of the improved index number, although a cautionary observation indicated that a greater share of year-end work was delayed than has been the case in recent years.
It was a nearly inevitable that the current conditions component would pull back from the historic high point of 85.3 it reached last month. Though sharp, the retreat to 52.8 still indicated favorable growth conditions, just at a slower pace. A plurality of respondents noted that conditions were unchanged from September to October. Commentors skewed slightly to the negative, but with one notable exception pointing out a rapid breakdown, most comments alluded to either modest growth or slight slowing in the current period.
No month has fared better when compared to the previous month than September 2020 scored vis a vis August. With not one report of outright worse conditions, and nearly three-quarters indicating a better business environment, the current conditions gauge
rose nearly 17 points to an all-time high reading of 85.3. The tenor of respondent comments helps to highlight a caveat regarding the topline number. Despite the record-setting reading, business was not necessarily booming but was better across most of
the electroindustry when assessed against last month. As one panelist noted, conditions were “improving slowly.”
With a majority of respondents reporting better conditions, the current component of the Electroindustry Business Confidence Index increased by more than seven points, reaching 68.4 this month. In retrospect, July's survey results pointed to a relatively widespread sense of a plateau in the market, but in August only around one-third of the panel indicated unchanged conditions. Comments largely reflected the Improvement suggested by the numbers, with one panelist noting that, "order rates are strong."
Ticking down a nearly-imperceptible 1.4 points, the current conditions component remained firmly in expansion territory at 61.1 in July. The share of respondents that reported unchanged conditions increased, while those indicating better conditions edged
back slightly. Some sectors of the electroindustry continued to note robust activity, but many comments suggested a plateau of sorts at an elevated level compared to the pandemic trough. Further expansion may be constrained because of continued uncertainty
about the course of the virus and responses to it.