Both US economy and electronics industry statistics released this week point to a slight uptick in economic growth, which is a potentially positive indicator for the rest of the year.
For the second quarter of 2013, the United States economy was up 1.7 percent, according to the US Commerce Department. Although modest, this upturn is a good sign that is echoed by recent stats from the IPC.
IPC, an industry association for printed circuit board and electronics manufacturing, just released its monthly figures that track bookings and shipments from US and Canadian facilities. The results demonstrate that sales of both printed circuit boards and semiconductor sales were up during June 2013.
At the same time, some indicators showed a downward trend. There was a slight slowing in electronics manufacturing services (EMS) sales, and a dip in US orders for electronics products in June. “Except for U.S. new orders, the three-month moving averages were up for the rest of the supply chain,” the IPC said in a statement.
IPC's PCB book-to-bill ratio remained steady at 1.05 in June. In fact, monthly orders for PCBs have outpaced sales each month since the beginning of the year. This figure provides a strong future-looking indicator that shows demand outpacing supply. Overall, the uptick in book-to-bill points to continuation of this positive trend, especially after a two-year slump for the PCB market.
Spending on electronics manufacturing is up, which also bodes well for the industry. The North American Semiconductor Industry reported a book-to-bill of semiconductor equipment of 1.10 in June 2013, and it has also posted positive ratios for the past six months. “Bookings in the quarter ending in June are 20 percent above the quarter ending in March,” said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI, in a press release. “As recently announced, we anticipate that total worldwide equipment spending will decline by low single-digits this year and rebound with a double-digit growth rate in 2014.”
Growth in the electronics industry will happen, but it may not occur as quickly as anyone had hoped. Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research, said in a statement:
A turnaround in sales growth this year still seems likely, but is not happening as quickly as the leading indicators suggested. We expect to see sales strengthening in the second half of this year, resulting in 2013 sales growth of less than 1 percent.
So, EBN community, are you optimistic about current and upcoming economic performance for the industry? Let us know in the comments.