The Association Connecting Electronic Industries, IPC, has released its Printed Circuit Board report for May 2011. Following are the key findings:

Rigid PCB shipments were flat at zero percent growth and bookings decreased 13.4 percent in May 2011 from May 2010. Year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 4.1 percent and bookings declined 9.2 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments increased 0.3 percent and rigid bookings decreased 0.6 percent.

Flexible circuit shipments in May 2011 were up 14 percent and bookings decreased 5.1 percent compared to May 2010. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 14.2 percent and bookings were up 5.5 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments decreased 6.9 percent and flex bookings jumped 22 percent.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in May 2011 increased 1.1 percent and orders booked decreased 12.6 percent from May 2010. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 4.9 percent and bookings were down 8.0 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for May 2011 decreased 0.4 percent and bookings increased 1.3 percent.

The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in May 2011 edged up to 0.97, while the book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry in May 2011 reached 0.99. The combined (rigid and flex) industry book-to-bill ratio climbed to 0.99. Note: A ratio of more than 1.00 indicates demand is currently ahead of supply, a positive indicator for sales growth over the next two to three months.

“We are starting to see some improvement in the North American PCB book-to-bill ratio,” said Denny McGuirk, IPC president and CEO. “Although it is still just under parity and we are seeing flat growth in rigid PCB sales, the flexible circuit side of the business is showing strong sales growth.”