For the first time since February 2023, the current conditions component broke into expansionary territory as October’s reading hit 52.8 points. The proportion of respondents reporting “better” conditions actually declined in October, compared to the previous month, but panel members indicating “unchanged” conditions leapt to a 72% share. Comments revealed solid growth in sectors bolstered by the electrification movement, as well as in construction related to data centers, power and industrial.
However, some industry executives had concerns about unstable geopolitics and deteriorating financial conditions, with one reporting a slowdown in orders.
Placing it firmly in expansionary territory, the future conditions component increased by more than 10 points in October, as the expectations for business conditions six months from now reached 63.9 points, compared to 53.6 points in September. The share of panel members expecting either “better” or “unchanged” conditions increased during the October survey period. That relative bullishness was supported executives’ expectations for an improved residential market and growth from energy transition efforts. On the flip side, one respondent already noted a decrease in the book to bill ratio, while another indicated “market softening to continue into 2024.”