March North American EBCIs Suggest Continued Growth, Increased Caution

Senior executives at National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) member companies reported that, on balance, business conditions facing their firms improved for a fifth consecutive month in March. The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions measured 60.9. Any reading above 50 indicates more panelists reported better conditions than reported worse conditions compared to the previous month.

At the same time, concerns over disruptions emanating from the natural disasters in Japan and the political turmoil in the Middle East contributed to a decline in the level of the index from 69.6 a month ago. The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in current North American conditions also slipped in March, declining to +0.3 from +0.6 in February. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).

Results for the EBCI for future North American conditions were similar to those for current conditions. While the index retreated somewhat in March, it was nonetheless at a historically high level of 82.6.
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