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NEMA’s EBCI Index for Current Conditions Drops in March But Still in Growth Territory

April 5, 2019
Despite a slight drop in March, the current conditions component remained in expansionary territory.

Despite a slight drop, from 55.9 points last month to 53.3 points in March, the current conditions component remained in expansionary territory. The share of electrical manufacturers that noted unchanged conditions increased as reports of both better and worse conditions declined.

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 no glaring concerns surfaced, some comments cited policy uncertainty, especially related to tariffs, as well as the desire that federal policymakers turn their attention to the nation’s infrastructure needs.

The future conditions component continued its gyrations about the expansion demarcation line of 50. March’s retreat to 43.3 from 58.8 in February marks the sixth time in eight months that the look-ahead measure fell below 50. As with the current component responses, the share of those that foresee unchanged conditions increased, while better and worse expectations declined. A solid majority of respondents now sees unchanged conditions in six months, but the proportion expecting better conditions pulled back sharply. One respondent directly noted an expected slowing of growth ahead, while others based anticipations on some resolution of political and policy uncertainties.