Rigid printed circuit board shipments were up 35.7% while bookings increased 40.6% in April 2010 vs. April 2009, according o the latest report from the Association Connecting Electronic Industries, IPC. Year to date, rigid printed circuit board shipments were up 14.9% and bookings have grown 34%. Compared to the previous month, rigid printed circuit board shipments decreased 12.3% and rigid bookings decreased 15.7%.

Flexible circuit shipments edged downward 14.9% in April, but bookings were up 6.6% compared to April 2009. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments were down 5.5% and bookings were up 7%. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments went down 26.4% and flex bookings declined by 21.5%.

Looking at rigid printed circuit boards and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in April 2010 increased 30.7% from April 2009, as orders booked increased 37.6% from April 2009. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 13.2% and bookings were up 31.8%. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for April 2010 decreased 13.4% and bookings went down 16.1%.

Book to bill ratios: The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in April 2010 remained at 0.98, while the book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid printed circuit board industry in April 2010 continued its climb to 1.11. The combined rigid and flex industry book-to-bill ratio increased to 1.10 in April. Note: The book-to-bill ratios are calculated by dividing the value of orders booked over the past three months by the value of sales billed during the same period from companies in IPC’s survey sample. A ratio of more than 1.00 suggests that current demand is ahead of supply, which is a positive indicator for sales growth over the next two to three months.

“The book-to-bill ratio just keeps on climbing,” said IPC president & CEO Denny McGuirk. “It has now been above parity for a full 12 months, indicating a recovery that is gaining momentum. The growth so far this year has been in rigid PCB sales. The month-to-month sales decline from March 2010 reflects normal seasonal effects.”

The full April printed circuit board report is available online.