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January 2017

North American Electronics Business Indicators Remain Mixed in November

Based on three-month rolling averages, printed circuit board (PCB) growth strengthened but continued negative in November 2016, while the electronics manufacturing services (EMS) industry in North America maintained solid positive growth. Semiconductor shipments continued to recover, finally returning to positive territory after 14 months of negative growth, based on three-month rolling averages. The turnaround for semiconductor sales began in April 2016 after a steep decline that spanned 12 months.

Leading indicators continued to send mixed signals in November 2016. The U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tends to lead industry sales by two to six months, continued positive (above 50) and strengthened. The 3/12 rate of change for U.S. new orders for electronic products, however, has been in negative territory for the past nine months, which is largely a reflection of last year’s growth.

Another leading indicator, IPC’s PCB book-to-bill ratio, is based on three-month rolling averages of orders and sales, and normally leads PCB sales by three to six months. After three months of positive and strengthening ratios, the ratio fell to 0.99 (below parity) in November 2016, due to weak orders in recent months. Ratios below parity (1.00) indicate greater supply than demand, which may be a precursor of slowing or negative sales growth for electronics manufacturers. These indicators suggest the likelihood of slow growth in December and early 2017 with some volatility.

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Notes: As of the June 2016 release, 3/12 rates of change based on actual dollar amounts replaced the use of indices in the graph. Three-month rolling averages iron out some of the volatility in monthly data to show clearer trends. This information is provided by IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries®. Other industry data can be found at www.ipc.org.

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; and Institute for Supply Management for the U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index.

Market Research Reports

World Market Size Estimates

  Billions of U.S. Dollars For Year Source
Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) $58.6 2015 IPC, World PCB Production Report for the Year 2015
Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) $430.1 2015 New Venture Research
Electronic Equipment (Including Components) $1,724 2015 Reed Electronics Research

Note: Changes in currency exchange rates affect these dollar amounts from year to year.

Lead-Free Trends

Source: IPC Global Solder Statistical Program

Find more information and data from other industry associations


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