Although some respondents noted weakness in their markets, the current conditions index benefited from a positive shift overall as it moved from 57.9 last month to 66.7 in December. The share of those reporting worse conditions mirrored November’s report at 11 percent. The movement in the index came about due to the shift from unchanged, which registered at 63 percent in November, to better conditions, reported at 23 percent last month. In December, both unchanged and better came in at 44 percent.
The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in electro-industry business conditions moved further into positive territory, as the mean rating ticked up an additional one-tenth of a point to +0.4 this month from its previous reading of +0.3 in November. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
The future conditions index continued to strengthen, reaching 80.6 in December. The last two months have seen this figure climb, starting at 66.7 in October and moving up to 73.7 in November. The share of those expecting better or unchanged conditions edged up, but most of the shift in confidence came from the 10 percent fewer respondents expecting worse conditions, a sentiment expressed by only 6 percent of respondents in December. Sixty-seven percent of our panelists reported expectations of better conditions versus 63 percent in November, while 28 percent foresaw unchanged conditions this time, compared to 21 percent last month.