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NEMA’s EBCI Indexes for May Point Toward Solid if Not Spectacular Business Climate

June 13, 2024
NEMA execs see some softening but overall are confident in the 2024 electrical economy.

Following a six-month run of readings suggesting expansionary conditions, NEMA’s Current Conditions component pulled back in April, dipping to 46.7 points. Boosted by a higher proportion of respondents who reported “better” conditions, the gauge of current conditions bounced back to reach the threshold score of 50 points, a result that suggested conditions remained essentially unchanged from the previous month’s.
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.
Except for a three-month period of relatively robust readings near the start of the year, the current conditions barometer has mostly hovered in a region suggesting slow to flat growth for the last 12 months. Comments pointed to modest improvement in conditions mixed with the observation that, “Order rates have softened in the near term.” 
After reaching a high for 2024 in April at 83.3 points, the future conditions index in May eased to 67.9 points. This was still well above the threshold indicating an expansionary market and marked the 12th consecutive month of expected growth in the period six months ahead. Although few panel members indicated that they foresaw worse conditions ahead, half of the respondents reported anticipating that conditions will be unchanged in six months.
Comments were mixed with some expressing expectations of increased sales in the fourth quarter while others mentioned market uncertainty around elections, inflation, inventory drawdowns and tariffs.