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NEMA’s EBCI Index Slides in March, Settling Near Growth Conditions Indicator

April 6, 2023

The current conditions component’s move into expansionary territory was unambiguous last month for the first time in almost a year as it hit 63.3 points. That surge of confidence was short-lived, with March’s reading falling back to 50 points, suggesting that conditions were unchanged from the prior month. Much of the commentary supported the numerical result, with many noting mixed conditions to include overall strong business activity but softening in certain end markets becoming noticeable and concern about supply chain issues still in play.

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.

Expectations for future conditions also pulled back from a solid expansionary reading in February to unchanged in this month’s survey. Last month’s future component score of 66.7 points marked the highest level reached in more than a year but concerns about the fallout from higher interest rates and a slowing global economy, including reduced consumer spending and higher capital acquisition costs, contributed to a less sanguine outlook this time. Panel members’ responses were evenly split between “better” and “worse” expectations, causing the March future component to match its current conditions counterpart at 50 points.