NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Confidence Index for current North American conditions gained ground in August but remained below levels suggestive of industry-wide expansion for a third straight month. The index, a monthly survey of senior executives at member firms of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., climbed to 41.4 points, up 9.4 points from its July reading, but still below the 50-point mark indicating growth.
Nearly 21 percent of survey panelists reported that the economic environment facing the industry in North America improved in August, up from only eight percent a month ago. Meanwhile, approximately 38 percent of panelists said conditions deteriorated. A plurality of the panel — just over 41 percent — saw business conditions unchanged in August compared to July.
August’s EBCI for future North American conditions slipped from July but continued to point toward better future conditions. Thirty-one percent of panelists said they expected conditions to improve by early 2012 versus nearly 21 percent anticipating they will worsen. In July, 40 percent of panelists said they expected an improvement versus 12 percent anticipating a decline. Consequently, the index dropped 8.8 points to 55.2 points in August from 64 points in July.
The global EBCI indexes also showed mixed results, with Latin America declining 5.9 points in August to 52.4 points from 58.3 points for current conditions, and dropping 2.5 points for future conditions, from 68.4 points to 65.9 points in July. At 25 points, Europe continued to have the lowest EBCI Index for current conditions, but this index improved 4.4 points from July. However, the index for future conditions in Europe dropped 13.1 points in August to 42.5 points. The Asia-Pacific region saw declines in both indexes, dropping 13.1 points to 42.5 points for current conditions and declining 4.2 points to 62.5 points for future conditions.