NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) for current conditions in North America fell back in February, dropping to 44.4 from 50 the previous month as more panelists reported conditions eroded than improved. Compared to January, smaller shares of the survey panel reported both that business conditions improved (22 percent in February compared to 41 percent in January) and that they deteriorated (33 percent in February compared to 41 percent in January). A plurality of panelists (44 percent) claimed conditions were unchanged in February. A considerably smaller 18 percent held this view a month ago.
The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in electroindustry business conditions remained in negative territory in February, slipping to -0.2 from -0.1 in January. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
Even though more panelists than not expect the business environment to improve over the next six months, the EBCI for future North American conditions also dropped in February, falling to 52.8 from 67.6 in January. A smaller share of the panel (33 percent) reported positive expectations than was the case last month (53 percent), while a larger share (28 percent) reported negative expectations than was the case in January (18 percent). The share expecting to see no change in business conditions over the next six months rose to 39 percent in February from 29 percent in January.