For the second time in three months, the current conditions component of the EBCI has dropped below 50, giving up more than 13 points from last month to a reading of 36.7 in November. This marks the lowest point in the series since August 2012.
The ElectroIndustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) is a monthly survey of senior executives at electrical manufacturers published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, VA. Any score over the 50-point level indicates a greater number of panelists see conditions improving than see them deteriorating.
Although the share of respondents that reported worse conditions increased to 33% , a solid majority — 60% — noted unchanged conditions. The mix of responses is perhaps more telling than the headline number, likely signaling that the extent to which conditions are improving compared to the prior period may have peaked.
By contrast, the future conditions component just barely returned to expansionary territory following a three-month string of sub-50 readings. With responses about expectations for six months ahead split evenly between better, worse, and unchanged, the November score calculated to exactly 50 points. Panel members’ comments showed some ambivalence, along with a nod to continued strength in the industrial sector and some concerns about trade and inflationary pressures in the months ahead.