North American Electronics Business Indicators Continue Upward

Monday,Apr 03,2017

Based on three-month rolling averages, growth in printed circuit board (PCB), electronics manufacturing services (EMS) and semiconductor sales in North America all continued their upward climb in February 2017. Strong sales growth was seen in the EMS and semiconductor industries. PCB sales growth this year has been modest.

The U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tends to lead industry sales by two to six months, continued to rise for the sixth consecutive month and remains solidly in positive territory (above 50). The 3/12 rate of change for U.S. new orders for electronic products also strengthened, crossing into positive territory for the first time in a year.

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 slipping below parity (1.00) in late 2016, due to weak orders, it rebounded in February 2017 to 1.04. Ratios above parity indicate greater demand than supply, which may be a precursor of sales growth for electronics manufacturers. These indicators suggest the likelihood of strengthening growth this spring and summer, with some volatility.


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

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.


World Market Size Estimates

  Billions of U.S. Dollars For Year Source
Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) $58.2 2016* IPC, World PCB Production Report for the Year 2016*
Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) $446.3 2016 New Venture Research
Electronic Equipment (Including Components) $1,728 2016 Reed Electronics Research

*The PCB estimate for 2016 is preliminary and will be updated when the World PCB Production Report for the Year 2016 is published later this year.

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


Lead-Free Trends

Source: IPC Global Solder Statistical Program and Global Solder Market Report

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