A sharp falloff in the share of respondents reporting “worse” conditions helped propel the current conditions component to 62.5 points in January, up from the previous month’s 56.3 points. Having expanded for four consecutive months, the current conditions reading stands at its highest point since Feb. 2023.
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 quantitative score was firmly in expansionary territory, and accelerating, panel member comments were lukewarm, largely reflecting stability rather than strong growth. Alluding to the mixed, but generally improving business environment, one respondent said, “The residential market is the only concern at this point.”
Only 6% of respondents expected to see “worse” conditions in six months, but a sizable increase in the share of those anticipating that conditions will remain “unchanged” helped lock in the top-line future conditions component at 81.3 points, which equaled the previous month’s reading. With a note of caution about the potential downside risk of the presidential election season, most executives were upbeat about the year ahead.
Some of the comments noted expectations for lower inflation and interest rates, noticeable entry of government funding into key markets and channel inventory reductions.