Rigid PCB shipments were up 0.8 percent, but bookings decreased 6.6 percent in April 2011 from April 2010, according to the newly released monthly report from the Association Connecting Electronic Industries, or IPC. Other findings: year to date, rigid PCB shipments were up 5.2 percent, but bookings declined 8.1 percent. Compared to the previous month, rigid PCB shipments decreased 15.0 percent and rigid bookings decreased 12.3 percent.

Additional highlights from the April IPC Report: Flexible circuit shipments during the month were up 30.3 percent, with bookings increasing 7.2 percent compared to April 2010. Year to date, flexible circuit shipments increased 14.3 percent and bookings were up 9 percent. Compared to the previous month, flexible circuit shipments decreased 2.4 percent and flex bookings declined 0.8 percent.

For rigid PCBs and flexible circuits combined, industry shipments in April 2011 increased 3 percent from April 2010, as orders booked decreased 5.6 percent from April 2010. Year to date, combined industry shipments were up 5.9 percent but bookings were down 6.7 percent. Compared to the previous month, combined industry shipments for April 2011 decreased 13.9 percent and bookings decreased 11.5 percent.

The North American flexible circuit book-to-bill ratio in April 2011 fell to 0.96, while the book-to-bill ratio for the North American rigid PCB industry improved slightly, by the same percentage. Note: 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.

“Growth in North American PCB sales continues to follow normal seasonal patterns and seems to have returned to normal, and the book-to-bill ratio is holding steady at just under parity,” said Denny McGuirk, IPC president & CEO. “This suggests the slowdown in sales growth is likely to continue into the third quarter of this year.”