Industrial economic indicators improve in July, August

Several industrial economic indicators show improvement in present and future conditions, according to NEMA, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), The Conference Board, and others, in July and August 2009.

08/27/2009


Several industrial economic indicators showed improvement in present and future conditions during July and August 2009.

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NEMA North American Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) showed improvement in August. Improving economic signs were reported by manufacturing executives in a July survey of past or prospective registrants of the Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show, including Metalform. And the Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) remained unchanged in July, after being flat for three months running, the board said on Aug. 10, suggesting an end to layoffs.

NEMA electroindustry business conditions improve

On Aug. 26, NEMA reported that its Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American conditions jumped nearly 12 points to 53.3 in August, an indication that the business environment facing electrical equipment manufacturers improved during the month, according to the association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the NEMA North American future conditions EBCI also climbed in August, rising 1.7 points to 68.3, the organization reported. This marked the highest reading for the future conditions index since August 2005 and implies that a significant proportion of industry executives expect at least some degree of improvement in the business situation within the next six months, NEMA explained.

The NEMA Electroindustry Business Confidence Index gauges the business confidence of the electroindustry in Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America, and is based on the results of a monthly survey of senior managers at NEMA member companies. Those companies represent more than 80% of the electroindustry, NEMA says. NEMA provides more about its monthly EBCI report .

Signs of economic recovery, says Fabtech survey

Improving economic signs were reported by manufacturing executives who are past or prospective registrants of the upcoming Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show, including Metalform, said show organizers and sponsors in an Aug. 24 announcement. Show sponsors are American Welding Society (AWS), Fabricators & Manufacturers Association Int'l (FMA), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), and Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).

More than half (53%) of the manufacturing executives polled indicated they have seen or experienced signs that signal the start of an economic recovery. The survey of 1,046 past or prospective registrants of the Fabtech event was conducted in late July. Among positive signals reported were an increase in new sales inquiries (27%), followed by an increase in orders (23%), reduced layoffs (18%), and the need to replenish inventory levels (14%).

Also, more than one quarter surveyed, 27%, agree with economists' forecasts that the economy will return to moderate growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2009, the survey said.

"These findings are in line with what we are hearing from other industry sectors, as well as economists' assessments that the economy is gradually improving," said Mark Hoper, Fabtech show manager, advising manufacturers to take advantage of this pending recovery period. In Chicago, Nov. 15-18, the Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show, including Metalform , is timed to provide manufacturers with the latest tools, technologies and processes to improve business in uncertain economic times, say organizers, who expect 35,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors at Chicago's McCormick Place.

End of layoffs; temporary employees next in line for hiring

In July, The Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) remained at the same level as the revised figures for May and June. The index stands at 88.3 and is down 20.1% from a year ago.

"The Employment Trends Index has been flat in the last three months," said Gad Levanon, senior economist at The Conference Board. "This suggests that we are getting closer to the point when employers are no longer cutting their workforce. However, since we are expecting a weak economic recovery, and given the record number of involuntary part-time workers - many of whom are likely to move to full-time positions before new employees are hired - we do not expect significant job growth over the next year."

This month, the components of the Employment Trends Index showed a mixed picture. The improving indicators were Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Industrial Production, Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.

The Employment Trends Index aggregates eight labor-market indicators, each of which has proven accurate in its own area. Aggregating individual indicators into a composite index filters out so-called "noise" to show underlying trends more clearly. The Conference Board provides more on employment trends .

Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering www.controleng.com





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