The broad economic slowdown of recent months continued to affect the electrical manufacturing sector in July. Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association's (NEMA) latest Electroindustry Business Confidence Survey reported that the economic environment facing the industry in North America deteriorated in the most recent month, up from 36% in June. Only 8% reported conditions were better than a month ago in July, down from 27% in June. The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions thus dropped to 32 from 45.5 a month ago, remaining below the “growth threshold” of 50 points for a second straight month.
In contrast to the July current conditions reading, the EBCI for future North American conditions signaled improving conditions over the next six months. Indeed, the index climbed slightly in July to 64 from a month earlier. Forty percent (40%) of panelists said they expected conditions to improve by the beginning of 2012 versus 12% anticipating conditions will worsen during that time period. In June, 36% of panelists said they expected an improvement in conditions versus less than 9% anticipated a decline.