Seasonal Slowdown Does Not Derail Strong Growth In Nema's 2005 Industrial Control Business Indices

ROSSLYN, Va., February 3, 2006. NEMA's Primary Industrial Controls Index declined 2.3 percent between the third and fourth quarter of 2005. However, the drop in the index likely reflects the typical seasonal weakness in fourth quarter sales rather than any major loss in momentum for the industrial controls market. Indeed, compared to the fourth quarter of 2004, sales of industrial control products and systems jumped 7.2 percent, marking the ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in the Primary Industrial Controls Index. The index's annual average for 2005 was 87.7, more than a five percent gain versus 2004 and its highest reading since 2000.

The Primary Industrial Control and Adjustable Speed Drive Index fell 1.4 percent during 2005's fourth quarter. The decline likely stems from seasonal fluctuations, as sales growth on a year-over-year basis remained robust, rising more than 12 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2004. The index's annual average for 2005 set a new high since its inception in 2001, climbing more than 7 percent versus 2004.

Short-term interest rates have had no measurable effect on the industrial controls market, despite a consistent series of 25 basis point hikes by the Federal Reserve. However, the interest rate environment is expected to become more neutral with respect to demand for industrial control equipment, as most economists anticipate the Federal Reserve will stop raising the federal funds rate by its next meeting at the end of March.

"Manufacturing sector growth will remain a key source of demand for industrial controls and adjustable speed drives," says Brian Lego, NEMA's director, economic analysis. "During the fourth quarter of 2005, the factory-operating rate registered its highest reading since the third quarter of 2000 and total manufacturing output excluding high-tech industries increased to a new all-time high. Rebuilding Gulf Coast areas damaged by hurricanes will bolster goods production during the first half of 2006. Renewed inventory rebuilding will provide a measurable boost as well, as manufacturers ramp up production so that wholesalers and other businesses can replenish stocks. Finally, the business investment environment will remain a positive factor for manufacturing activity, as near-record profits have left businesses flush with cash and ready to spend on industrial machinery and equipment."

The Industrial Control Business Indices are issued quarterly by NEMA. The Primary Industrial Control Index represents U.S. shipments for motor starters, contactors, terminal blocks, control circuit devices, motor control centers, sensors, programmable controllers, and other industrial control devices. Because these data have been collected for some time, the primary index illustrates the market's trend over several years. In 2001, the NEMA data collection program was expanded to include adjustable speed drives, a key energy-saving industrial component. The Primary Industrial Control and Adjustable Speed Drive Index provides a broader measure of the industrial control marketplace. Industrial control equipment, a $2.6 billion U.S. market, is primarily used in industrial applications for the control or regulation of power utilization apparatus, including motors.

This index represents monthly sales information collected by NEMA from its members, the major industrial control manufacturers in the U.S. market. Detailed information is only available to NEMA members. The data underlying these indices represent more than 90 percent of U.S. sales of this equipment. For more information, contact Walt Kozikowski, industry director, at (703) 841-3262 or To view the indices, visit the NEMA website .

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., 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.


All Topics