Outlook Remains Mixed in North American Electronics Business Performance
While semiconductor sales have climbed in recent months and printed circuit board (PCB) sales have begun to strengthen, electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sales continued its slow decline.
Two leading indicators – U.S. new orders for electronic products and IPC’s PCB book-to-bill ratio – have been
volatile. New orders revived in September after a three-month decline. They tend to lead industry sales by one to two months. The book-to-bill ratio, conversely, dipped below parity in September to 0.98 after an eightmonth run of ratios at or above parity. Positive ratios reflect higher demand than supply and indicate future sales growth. The book-to-bill ratio leads sales in the PCB industry by three to six months.
All data cited in this report are based on rolling averages of the past three months, which smooths out some of the volatility in monthly data to show clearer trends. Despite this smoothing effect, however, leading indicators have been choppy.
Note on the graph: All indices are based on the same baseline of the average month in 2000=100, and reflect a
three-month rolling average.
Sources: IPC statistical programs for the EMS and PCB industries; SIA for semiconductor data; U.S.
Census Bureau for U.S. new orders for computer and electronic products.
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