Electrical Marketing’s Leading Indicators, December 22, 2010

Dec. 22, 2010
PMI dips but still strong. Even though the Purchasing Managers Index lost 0.3 percent, it still remains in growth territory

PMI dips but still strong. Even though the Purchasing Managers Index lost 0.3 percent, it still remains in growth territory. Said Norbert Ore, chair of the Institute for the Tempe, Ariz.-based Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, “The manufacturing sector grew during November, with both new orders and production continuing to expand. With the PMI at 56.6 percent, November’s rate of growth is the second fastest in the last six months.”

Leading Economic Indicators rise again. The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 1.1 percent in November to 112.4 (2004=100), following a 0.4 percent increase in October, and a 0.6 percent increase in September.

Said Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist at The Conference Board, “November’s sharp increase in the LEI, the fifth consecutive gain, is an early sign the expansion is gaining momentum and spreading. Nearly all components rose in November.” Added Ken Goldstein, another economist at The Conference Board, “Overall the indicators point to a mild pickup after a slow winter. Looking further out, possible clouds on the medium-term horizon include weaknesses in housing and employment.”

Architectural Billings Index (ABI) increases in November. Revenue at U.S. architecture firms increased in November, only the second monthly increase in billings since early 2008, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, D.C. At 52 points, the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded a three-point gain from the previous month and reached its strongest level since December 2007. With ABI scores above the 50 level in two of the past three months, the prospects of a sustainable recovery in design activity are enhanced.

Kermit Baker, AIA’s chief economist, said trends in billings by construction sector were more mixed. On the negative side, the billings index for commercial/industrial firms dipped below 50 points for the first time since last April. On the positive side, residential architecture firms report a solid increase in billings, with the index for that sector increasing to 54.3 points, its highest reading since mid-2007.