After a six-month upswing, in which the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) remained in positive territory, at or above 50, the index dipped to 47.1 at the end of September. This change indicates that conditions are no longer favorable for expansion in the electrical manufacturing sector. Just 24 percent of the panelists queried reported better conditions in September, versus 33 percent at the end of August. The number of respondents who reported that conditions had worsened almost doubled to 29 percent at the end of September compared to 17 percent at the end of August, although the proportion of panel members who indicated conditions had changed very little altered ever so slightly; 47 percent in September versus 50 percent in August.
The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in electroindustry business conditions edged into negative territory, as the mean rating slid from +0.2 in August to -0.2 in September. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
In terms of the Future Conditions Index, while it remains in a territory representative of growth, it did decrease somewhat considerably to 52.9 at the end of September from the previous August high of 66.7. Echoing the EBCI responses, 47 percent of the panelists expect conditions to remain unchanged over the course of the next six months, compared to the 33-percent response in August. The number of respondents who expect conditions to improve has declined to 29 percent in this month’s survey versus 50 percent in August, and 24 percent of the September panelists forecast worsening conditions in the next six months, which is up 7 points from 17 percent in August. The full September 2016 report is available on the NEMA website.