Industrial control shipments finish strong in ’07
According to a report issued by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the Primary Control Index grew by 8.3% in the fourth quarter of 2007 relative to the third quarter. When compared to the same quarter in the previous year, the index increased by 10.6% Growth for the full calendar year of 2007 was 6.2%, closing out the strongest year of growth since 2004.
Despite the positive news, however, leading economic indicators show that this strong growth will likely moderate in 2008 as economic challenges in other areas of the economy begin to exert pressure on manufacturing. The ISM manufacturing index, for example, came in below the expansion/contraction threshold of 50 in December 2007 and continued weakness in the housing sector could erode confidence. However, reports on durable goods orders do indicate that capital spending by businesses is elevated and, when combined with strong export demand tied to the weak dollar, should provide stability in the manufacturing sector over the short-term.