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NEMA’s EBCI Index Sees 15-Point Gain in May but Industry Execs Still Feel the Slowdown

June 5, 2020
Some reason to cheer in NEMA's most recent EBCI, but a tough slog still ahead.

Still deep in contractionary territory, the current conditions component of the monthly EBCI Index published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, VA, pointed to the likelihood that the electroindustry bottomed out in April and began clawing back toward growth in May.

The nearly 17-point increase to 32.4 points from April to May was driven largely by a significant decline in the share of panelists that reported worse conditions this month. Very few additional respondents rated conditions as better, but many more registered unchanged conditions.

The ElectroIndustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) is NEMA’s monthly survey of senior executives at electrical manufacturers. Any score over the 50-point level indicates a greater number of panelists see conditions improving than see them deteriorating.

Gaining 10 points from last month, the NEMA’s EBCI future conditions component expanded to 70.6 points in May. The numerical result, based on the relative expectation of business conditions in six months compared to current conditions, belied the sentiment expressed by many panel members.

As one executive said, although expecting an uptick in business, they, “Do not expect anything that would closely approximate a return to originally forecasted levels of activity for quite some time.” Indeed, 18% of respondents expected worse conditions half a year from now. However, a substantial majority of panelists indicated that business conditions will have improved by November.