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North American PCB business continues double-digit growth in January and February

March 27, 2019
IPC on Wednesday announced the February 2019 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. The results showed that PCB sales and orders both had solid year-over-year (YoY) growth in February, and the book-to-bill ratio strengthened to 1.06. IPC also shared revised industry data for the month of January, showing that business during that month was considerably stronger than originally reported.

February's data showed that total North American PCB shipments were up 13.9% YoY, following a 15.5% rise in January. Year-to-date sales growth in February was 14.7%. Compared to the January month, February shipments decreased 5.2%.

PCB bookings in February increased 10.7% YoY, after decreasing 1.7% in January. Year-to-date order growth in February was up 4.4%. Bookings in February were up 8.8% from the previous month.

"Revised January data from the North American PCB industry brought welcome changes to the 2019 business results to date," said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. "After slowing growth in the latter part of 2018, strong growth has returned in 2019. The book-to-bill ratio rebounded from a corrected level of 1.02 in January to 1.06 in February, indicating the likelihood of continued sales growth in the coming months."

Interpreting the Data

For the book-to-bill ratio, a figure of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next three to 12 months. A ratio of less than 1.00 indicates the reverse. IPC states that year-over-year and year-to-date growth rates provide the most meaningful view of industry growth, whereas month-to-month comparisons should be made with caution as they reflect seasonal effects and short-term volatility.

IPC’s monthly PCB industry statistics are based on data provided by a representative sample of both rigid PCB and flexible circuit manufacturers selling in the USA and Canada. IPC publishes the PCB book-to-bill ratio at the end of each month.

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