The current and future confidence indexes moved in lockstep for the third consecutive month, each pulling back nominally from 73.5 last month to 70.6 in May. At this level the indexes remain well into expansionary range, even as the current conditions responses suggest a movement toward a sense of status quo with the six percentage point decline in those registering better conditions – from 53 percent in April to 47 percent now – taken up entirely by the six point increase, to 47 percent, in those seeing unchanged conditions. Those witnessing worse conditions held steady at 6 percent. Comments were largely positive, with a dash of uncertainty about specific end use sectors including the industrial and utility markets.
The range of responses to the survey's measure of the intensity of change in electroindustry business conditions narrowed somewhat, and the mean score ticked down slightly from +0.8 in April to +0.7 this month. Panelists are asked to report intensity of change on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
A majority of respondents expect improved conditions in six months, although the 53 percent share of those who do marks a sharp pullback from the 65 percent reporting similarly last month. Unlike the current conditions reporting, the share of those expecting worse conditions declined from 18 percent last month to 12 percent in May. The largest swing came from those expecting conditions to remain unchanged. That share jumped from 18 percent in April to 35 percent this month. Comments regarding expectations for the business environment tend to be upbeat but political uncertainty remains a concern.
Click here for the complete May 2017 report.