Industrial controls indices show robust market conditions

By Control Engineering Staff May 9, 2006

Rosslyn, VA —Market conditions for industrial automation and controls equipment remain strong, according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s (NEMA) Primary Industrial Controls Index. Between fourth-quarter 2005 and first-quarter 2006, the index rose 6.1%. It was the 10th consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in the index and its highest reading since first-quarter 2001.

“While a portion of this growth reflects typical seasonal demand,” conditions are clearly positive said Brian Lego, NEMA’s director, economic analysis:“Sales jumped more than 12% compared to the same period a year ago.”

At the same time, the primary industrial controls and adjustable-speed drive index hit an all-time high for its five-year history. This broader index, which includes adjustable-speed drives, posted a 5.8% growth rate from fourth-quarter 2006 to first-quarter 2006.

According to the NEMA report, the near-term outlook for the U.S. manufacturing sector bodes well for industrial controls and adjustable speed drives. Capacity utilization rates continue to edge higher. Output from non-high-tech manufacturing industries remains robust. Business investment will likely push manufacturing activity even higher during 2006. On the other hand, says NEMA, inflationary pressures are posing a downside risk to the outlook. The economy’s approaching capacity and energy prices’ continual rise are likely to begin to weigh on future macroeconomic gains.

NEMA represents the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. It issues its industrial controls business indices quarterly. Click here to view the indices .

Control Engineering ’s quarterly index of automation companies shows similar strength. Click here and search on Market Update.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jeanine Katzel , senior editor