Nema Lighting Systems Index Tumbles In Fourth Quarter Of 2005

ROSSLYN, Va., February 21, 2006-The National Electrical Manufacturers Association's Lighting Systems Index declined 4.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2005, erasing the index's relatively steady path of growth over the past two years. In addition, this marks the lowest reading for the index since the first quarter of 2004. Of the five industry segments found in the index, emergency lighting, luminaire, and ballast recorded declines during the quarter, more than offsetting the gains for miniature and large lamps.

Despite the index's weak fourth quarter reading, the underlying drivers for lighting equipment demand remain in good shape; however, while the index is expected to rebound, the contributions to overall growth in the index will shift going forward. Signs of the much-anticipated housing market slowdown have become more prevalent in recent months, ranging from diminished homebuilder optimism to sharp increases in the number of unsold homes. Although the level of residential construction remains well above historical averages, the combination of less favorable financing terms and still-rising house prices suggest further weakening in homebuilding activity is likely, thereby weighing on demand for residential-use lighting systems.

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The NEMA Lighting Systems Index is a composite measure of NEMA member companies' U.S. shipments of a variety of lighting products, including lamps, luminaires, ballasts, emergency lighting, and exit signs, and is designed to track underlying demand for these types of equipment. Product shipments data are drawn from statistical surveys conducted regularly by NEMA and are adjusted for inflation and regularly recurring seasonal fluctuations.

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926, its approximately 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion.

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