The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions, conducted by the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA), continued to point to a broadly improving environment in January. The index measured 63.6, down slightly from December’s 68, but near the high end of the range of readings recorded since the beginning of the third quarter of 2010. A reading above 50 indicates more panelists reported conditions improved, compared to the previous month, than reported they worsened.

While improvement in business conditions has been broad-based over the last several months, the degree of improvement has crept upward as well. The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in current North American conditions measured plus 0.5 in January, up from plus 0.4 in December and plus 0.3 in November. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from minus 5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to plus 5 (improved significantly).

Meanwhile, the EBCI for North American conditions six months in the future rose for a fifth straight month in January. The index reached a very strong 88.6, its highest mark in nearly seven years. A large majority of survey panelists—77 percent—expect to see conditions improve by mid-2011, while none of the 22 respondents anticipate deterioration.

The complete EBCI report is available at www.nema.org.