The January 2004 NEMA Electroindustry Business Confidence Index continues to reflect rising optimism in the business fortunes of the electrical industry.

Published monthly by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., the index shows improvement in all major international markets. The current conditions indexes for all four regions measured above 50 points in January. A score of 50 or higher suggests conditions appropriate to expansion of the electroindustry sector.

Confidence was greatest regarding Asia/Pacific, which reached 75 points. At 72 points, confidence in the economic conditions in North America was likewise broad. Respondents exhibited the least confidence in the European market, although the market is still in the growth range at 57 points. The panel of manufacturers was largely positive regarding conditions in Latin America, which measured nearly 65 points.

The clean sweep of confidence has continued for seven consecutive months. The indexes that measure expected conditions six months from now, already in the growth range, expanded in three of the four regions and remained constant in the other. Expectations for North America widened by nearly four points to 89.7, Latin America surged to 85 from 69 last month, and Asia/Pacific expanded to 86.7 from last month's 78. Europe remained steady at 70.

Said one respondent, “My company finished 2003 slightly ahead of where we thought we would be. The first few days of January look good as well. According to the Department of Commerce report, electrical distributor are at a record low level relative to sales. Will we see some restocking in 2004?”

Added another manufacturer, “Demand was robust last month and continues robust this month. We are even seeing increased demand from the long-depressed commercial construction market.”