North American semiconductor-equipment orders slipped 7% in December while the industry's book-to-bill metric showed a slight sequential improvement.
The three-month average of worldwide bookings in December was $1.14 billion -- nearly 5% higher than the final November level of $1.09 billion and 7% below the $1.24 billion in orders posted in December 2004, according to a press release by the trade group SEMI.
The industry's book-to-bill ratio rose sequentially to 0.96 from 0.33. This means that $96 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month. The figure has consistently stayed below 1.0 in recent months.
"Bookings for North American-based semiconductor equipment providerscontinue to show strength for a third consecutive month," said Stanley T. Myers, president and CEO of SEMI. "The positive momentum reflects growingconfidence in the industry and indicates a positive outlook for the year ahead."