The business environment has improved markedly since December 2009, according to electrical equipment manufacturers polled in NEMA’s most recent business confidence survey. The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions rose sharply in March 2010 for a third straight month, increasing 7.2 points to 71.7 — its highest level since May 2004.
Nonetheless, though improvement appears increasingly commonplace across the industry, additional evidence suggests that it is likely small in absolute terms. Indeed, the average intensity of change in business conditions reported in the survey held steady in March at a relatively modest +0.5. Intensity of change is reported on a scale ranging from –5 (deteriorated significantly) through 0 (unchanged) to +5 (improved significantly).
Meanwhile, the EBCI for future North American conditions itself gained ground in March, inching upward 0.9 points to also come to rest at 71.7, reflecting widespread sentiment that business conditions will continue to pick up, at least to some degree, over the next six months.