NEMA’s EBCI Current Conditions reading held steady at 50 points this month, equaling September’s index value and once again teetering on the line indicating expansion.
One noteworthy change in the distribution of responses from NEMA members was a decline in the share of those who reported worse conditions in October compared to last month. Some panel members expressed lingering concerns about the political and policy environment, as well as the general direction of the economy. Despite such reservations, other respondents pointed to steady or even improved activity in their business sectors.
The ElectroIndustry Business Conditions Index (EBCI) is a monthly survey of senior executives at electrical manufacturers published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, VA. Any score over the 50-point level indicates a greater number of panelists see conditions improving than see them deteriorating.
For the first time since April of this year, the future conditions component reached expansion territory with an index score of 52.9 points in October, a 13.6-point increase over last month’s 39.3-point reading. A modest increase in the proportion of respondents expecting better conditions in six months helped fuel the move to an expansionary reading, but the main driver of that change was a sharp drop in the number of panelists foreseeing worse conditions ahead.
However, an undercurrent of doubt from respondents remained largely centered on the outsized influence politics may have on business confidence as the next presidential election approaches.