A majority of respondents reported an unchanged business environment in January, pushing the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Electroindustry Business Confidence Index’s (EBCI) current conditions component to 60, a nearly imperceptible increase over December’s 57.7 reading, above the 50-point mark and indicative of positive business conditions.
“The re-imposition of some business restrictions in response to an early-January surge in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, combined with a slower-than-expected vaccine rollout, reined in the panel’s expectations, which otherwise appeared poised to charge ahead,” NEMA noted.
Bearing in mind that the diffusion methodology underlying the EBCI measures the breadth of business confidence rather than its magnitude, expectations for improved conditions in six months were held nearly universally among panelists as the future conditions index hit an all-time high reading of 93.3 in January, compared to an already robust 84.6 from last month. None of the respondents indicated worse conditions ahead.
“Commentary largely suggested that in six months the economy will be reaping the benefits of a receding pandemic and concomitant stability,” NEMA stated.