Printed circuit board shipments in March grew 18.9% compared to February, according to the Association Connecting Electronics Industries (IPC). Board sales were also up 4.8% compared to March 2013.
New orders (bookings) in March grew 20.9% from the previous month, but declined 5.5% from March 2013, the association said.
The North American board book-to-bill ratio strengthened in March for the fourth straight month. It reached 1.01 compared to 0.99 in February, according to IPC. A ratio of 1.01 means board manufacturers received $101 new orders for every $100 of orders they shipped in the month.
“The book-to-bill ratio’s climb and positive year-on-year sales growth in March are encouraging signs of a recovery ahead,” said Sharon Starr, IPC’s director of market research. However, she noted that "the book-to-bill ratio has just reached positive territory after six consecutive months below 1.00." She added, that while economic indicators are positive for 2014, the board industry’s “recovery is developing slowly.”