NEMA’s Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions increased for a third straight month and topped the 50-point threshold indicative of sectoral expansion for a second straight month in September. The index rose 5.3 points to 58.6, its highest reading since April 2006 and more than 50 points above its cyclical low of 8 in December 2008.
While the breadth of the nascent recovery has spread quickly, the absolute degree of improvement has nonetheless been modest. The EBCI survey’s monthly measure of the intensity of change in business conditions rose to +0.1 in September from 0.0 in August, its first positive reading since June 2007. Intensity of change in business conditions is reported on a scale ranging from -5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
The EBCI for future North American conditions also climbed in September, reaching its highest level – 69.0 – since August 2005. This reading implies that a significant proportion of industry leaders foresees some degree of improvement in the business situation within the next six months. Still, while the survey currently has no formal measure of the expected intensity of change, respondent comments suggest that the degree of improvement over the next six months is seen as limited.