By Christine Siebert
WHMA and IPC have launched a webinar series to discuss the widespread concern about the COVID-19 crisis. Wire harness professionals join these webinars, COVID-19: Wire Harness Leadership Forum that were held on May 7th and June 4th, to exchange valuable information with their industry peers.
The topics that were discussed on these calls were detailed updates on U.S. economic conditions, health and safety precautions companies in the industry are taking, how suppliers are handling demand, employment decisions and issues, and how our industry companies are getting back to business.
These webinars are led by David Bergman, WHMA/IPC WHMA Executive Director, Rick Bromm President of Altex and Board Chairman of WHMA, and Norm Sagon WHMA/IPC Sales Associate. The purpose of this webinar is to be an open forum for industry professionals to openly discuss and exchange information during this uncertain time.
The webinar begins with an enlightening update on the U.S. Economic Outlook presented by Shawn Dubravac, IPC Chief Economist. He prepared a few slides to give an overview of where we are today and where we are going. A few key stats that he provided were that lost jobs were down from April at 20 million to 2.76 million in May. The numbers were much better than the expected 8.75 million. Manufacturing down 719, 196. Manufacturing is roughly 10% of the ADP report but was 26% of the decline.
An area we are seeing improving is vehicle sales which impacts a lot of the manufacturing markets. In April, vehicle sales had been the worst it has ever been at 47%. In May, vehicle sales are down 30% which is up 17% from May showing an improvement from April. Electronics and computers are relatively flat which is good.
Lastly for an overall look at the GDP which had a historic decline in Q1 of -4.9%, anticipated annualized decline in Q2 of -35%, we have never seen a decline like this before. We do think coming off this steep downturn you will see some recovery in the back half of the year. We probably will not gain the size of the current economy until late 2021 – 2022.
The webinars continued with audience participation and polling topics. Discussions on how companies are handling COVID-19 requirements and what type of changes they had to make, i.e., safety rules, reduced staffing, essential workers, providing safety equipment, closing facilities, etc. were some of the main topics. Our audience felt overall somewhat positive on the overall economic conditions for the wire harness.
WHMA and IPC will continue to hold these webinars for our industry professionals. Please check your email and the website for details at www.whma.org. If you are a WHMA member, you can view the past webinars in the Members Only area and if you’re not a member go to www.whma.org/join to sign up today.