In moving from 72.2 last month to 76.5 in March, the NEMA Electroindustry Business Confidence current conditions index reached its highest level since September 2005. Although some executives remarked on confusion in Washington and flashes of social unrest, signs of a strengthening economy noted by others were apparently widespread among panel members. The share of those indicating better business conditions increased by 9 percentage points to 59 percent this month, and all of that increase came as a result of a 9 percentage point drop in the “unchanged” conditions category, from 44 percent in February to 35 percent in March. Like last month, only 6 percent reported worse conditions.
The survey’s measure of the intensity of change in electroindustry business conditions was unchanged from last month, with the median value remaining at +1 and the mean score holding steady at +0.7 in March. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
The aggregated future conditions responses were identical to the current conditions components this month. The overall index of conditions expected six months from now drifted down to 76.5 from last month’s reading of 77.8. The 59 percent of respondents expecting better conditions is down from 67 percent last month, while the percentage that foresees unchanged conditions leapt by 13 points to 35 percent in March. Meanwhile, the 6 percent of those expecting worse conditions marks a 5 percent decline from February’s results.
Click here for the complete March 2017 report.