According to IPC, the Association Connecting Electronic Industries, rigid printed circuit board shipments were up 19.6% while bookings increased 38.4% in March 2010 from March 2009. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 9.2% and bookings have grown 31.9%. Compared to the previous month, rigid printed circuit board shipments increased 23.5% and rigid bookings increased 28.2%.

Following is a breakdown by category: Flexible circuit shipments in March 2010 were down 1.3%, with bookings up 18.9% compared to March 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments were down 2.4% and bookings were up 7.1%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments went up 27.3% and flex bookings rose by 98.8%.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in March 2010 increased 17.7% from March 2009, as orders booked increased 36.8% from March 2009. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 8.3% and bookings were up 29.9%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for March 2010 increased 23.8% and bookings went up 31.6%. The book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid printed circuit board industry grew to 1.10 in March, while the combined rigid and flex industry book-to-bill ratio in March 2010 increased to 1.09. Note: A ratio of more than 1.0 suggests that demand is currently ahead of supply--a positive indicator of sales growth over the next two three months.

 “In the March data, we can really see the recovery in full swing,” said IPC President & CEO Denny McGuirk. “Rigid PCB bookings grew in double digits and continued to grow faster than shipments, which has kept the book-to-bill ratio strongly positive for the past 10 consecutive months. Both rigid PCBs and flexible circuits are gaining strength.”

The full March 2010 IPC report is available online.