NEMA's February Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions again pointed toward widespread improvement in the electrical market's business environment. Panelists' evaluations of business conditions were striking in their similarity to those reported in January.
Not only did the overall index hold steady in February at 73.8 points, matching its highest post-recession mark, the shares of panelists reporting conditions improved, declined, and stayed the same were identical in both months at 57%, 10%, and 33%, respectively. The EBCI Index, a monthly survey of senior executives at electrical manufacturers published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., remains comfortably over the 50-point level indicating an equal number of panelists see conditions improving as see them deteriorating.
While the EBCI for future North American conditions retreated by nearly 5 points in February, it remained in historically elevated territory at 81 points. Two-thirds of survey respondents said they expect conditions to improve over the next six months, down slightly from 71% in January. Meanwhile, 5% anticipate a deterioration in the business environment in coming two quarters. In January, none of the panelists held that view.
Although the European (-1.8 points) and Asian (-1.1 points) EBCI indexes slipped a bit in February, future conditions in the global EBCI Indexes were generally steady, with Latin America (+3.9 points) and Asia both weighing in at 83.3 points and Europe at the 50-point mark. All are up since the beginning of 2013, with Latin America showing a 12.5-point increase; the Asian EBCI up 10.2 points and Europe up 6.5 points during the past two months.