While shipments of rigid printed circuit boards (pcb) were off slightly throughout the US and Canada this past year, actual bookings had decreased 9.2%, according to trade association IPC, Bannockburn IL.
Year to date, rigid pcb shipments grew 4.4% and bookings decreased 0.2%. Compared to the previous month, rigid pcb shipments were down 12.4 percent and rigid bookings fell 14.3 percent. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in October 2012 slipped below parity to 0.98.
“Although the book-to-bill ratios continued below parity in October, sales rebounded in the flexible circuit segment,” according to Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research. “The industry’s recovery is expected to resume in the near term, but possibly not until early 2013. Action by the US Congress to deal with the ‘fiscal cliff’ will have a significant impact on economic growth and business confidence.”
The role of domestic production
IPC’s monthly survey of the North American PCB industry tracks bookings and shipments from US. and Canadian facilities, which provide indicators of regional demand. These numbers do not measure US and Canadian pcb production. To track regional production trends, IPC asks survey participants for the percent of their reported shipments that were produced domestically (i.e., in the USA or Canada). In October 2012, 82 percent of total pcb shipments reported by survey participants were domestically produced. Domestic production accounted for 82 percent of rigid PCB and 84 percent of flexible circuit shipments in October by IPC’s survey participants.