Imports Increasing: A Good Sign for the Economy

Although February had been a slow month for imports monitored by Global Port Tracker, decreasing by 1.4 percent for the number of 20-foot Equivalent Units from the same time last year, March was estimated to increase by approximately 15 percent from March of 2013. Traditionally, February is a slow month for imports. However, the rise in containers processed afterward shows how the North American economy may be beginning to see some light after the recent recession.

While container figures don’t necessarily dictate how well sales are performing in the United States, they can be a signifier of retailers investing more money for product. The increase of the port numbers comes as the National Retail Federation forecasts a 4.1-percent sales growth in 2014. Ben Hackett, founder of Hackett Associates, believes the “forecast continues to reflect the economic rebound, and we remain convinced that 2014 will have sustainable growth.”

As 2013 finished with a 2.3-percent increase over the number of TEUs processed in 2012, many official channels are optimistic about recovery and sales in 2014.

Global Port Tracker covers some of the largest ports in the United States from Seattle, Washington, around to New York, including the Gulf Coast.

PCB Solutions has seen a very solid start to the 2014 year and as we approach an end to the first half of the year, we see continued signs of a good activity from our current customers.  Many of the EMS customers we serve have stepped up quoting activity and we are seeing repeat orders happen more often.  Tomorrow we report on IPC’s numbers for March which finally took a turn to the positive in the book-to-bill ratio and finally going north of parity – not by much but it did finally rebound from November’s terrible printed circuit board low of .91.