The current conditions component edged lower for the third consecutive month in May, moving from a reading of 52.8 points in April to 50 points this month. The share of panelists who reported unchanged conditions dropped sharply, and although the proportion of respondents that indicated better conditions increased over last month, the percentage that noted worse conditions increased by an even greater amount.
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.
For better or for worse, tariffs served as the focus for most comments, but one remark simply pointed out that this has been the “best start to the year” in some time.
Looking six months ahead, the burst of optimism exhibited last month soured quickly as the future conditions index fell nearly 17 points to 33.3 points, a level last seen amid the 2007–2009 recession. The percentage of responses expecting worse conditions ahead increased while the share of better and unchanged projections fell from April to May.
The ever-growing trade imbroglio once again garnered significant attention in the comments, with one expressing concern that the “U.S. position on trade is leaning towards protectionism.”