The National Electrical Manufacturers Association's (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions rebounded in January, rising nearly 9 points to 57.1. The index is derived from responses to a survey circulated to senior executives of NEMA member companies, and a value above 50 indicates that more respondents reported that the business environment improved from the previous month than reported that it worsened. The index had fallen below 50 in December for the first time in five months, but this latest reading suggests that the modest improvements in conditions that characterized much of the second half of 2009 have persisted into early 2010.

Moreover, the EBCI for future North American conditions pushed further upward in January while posting its second consecutive monthly gain. Rising 14.3 points to 78.6, the index recorded an eleventh straight reading above 50, and reached its highest level since December 2004. This result reflects widespread sentiment that business conditions will improve over the next six months.