MANHASSET, N.Y. The monthly order index compiled by the Electronic Components, Assemblies & Materials Association (ECA) dipped slightly in January in a pattern consistent with past years.
ECA (Arlington, Va.), an industry association, compiles the index from makers and producers of passive and active electronic components, component arrays and assemblies, and materials and support services. The index for the past month showed orders declining 20 percent from a year ago, when the market was making a big comeback from 2003.
Although order growth a year ago started at 55 percent above January 2003, it eventually subsided from the steep climb in the early months of the year. Overall, last year's 12-month moving average finished a few percentage points ahead of 2003, according to the ECA.
"Except for last year, when orders grew rapidly compared to a poor 2003, January is not a traditionally strong month for order growth," says Bob Willis, ECA president. "It typically takes a couple of weeks to gear up from the holidays, and this year is no different."
Willis added, "Results from the last two weeks of January and the first week of February are strong, which is a good sign. It's too early to see any definitive patterns, but most manufacturers are expecting this year to be much like 2004-- good, but not great."