Third-quarter 2010 NEMA Lighting Systems Index (LSI) performance bested the second quarter’s by 0.9% and was 5.6% ahead of third-quarter 2009’s, the 2010 National Lighting Bureau (NLB) recently reported.

The new residential and commercial/industrial construction markets are the principal drivers of lighting equipment sales. Both are weak and will remain so through most of 2011. According to NEMA Director of Economic Analysis Brian Lego, “New housing starts have largely remained at depressed levels after bottoming out in late 2008. Foreclosures continue to mount and, barring any significant turnaround in the labor market, residential lamp demand will continue to struggle.”

Lego said much the same about the commercial/industrial market, noting that, while the steepest declines are over, “commercial and industrial construction activity in 2010’s third quarter continued a nine-quarter slide by contracting at an annualized rate of 20%. Vacancy rates remain close to cyclical (and in some cases, record) highs and a substantial percentage of commercial and industrial loans are in default, forces that will certainly impede any upturn in nonresidential construction activity for several more quarters.”

NLB Executive Director John Bachner commented that existing lighting-system upgrades will probably account for most commercial and industrial equipment sales in the near term. Indeed, while the third-quarter LSI performance improvement can be attributed to growth scattered throughout the product groups tracked by the index, fluorescent-ballast shipments registered the most appreciable increase, a development Bachner attributes to the July 1, 2010, phase-out of magnetic ballasts used for T12 fluorescent systems.

Source: The National Lighting Bureau