Metalforming companies expect a substantial spike in new orders and shipments during the next 3 months, according to the February 1, 2007, Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 138 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
When asked what they expect the trend in general economic activity to be over the next 3 months:
- 32 percent of participants reported that conditions will improve (up from 27 percent in January)
- 58 percent predict activity will remain the same (compared to 55 percent the previous month)
- 10 percent anticipate a decline in business conditions (down from 18 percent in January)
Metalforming companies also expect an improvement in incoming orders during the next 3 months.
- 45 percent of respondents predict an increase in orders (up from 42 percent in January)
- 39 percent forecast no change (compared to 38 percent in January)
- 16 percent anticipate a decrease in orders (down from 20 percent last month)
Current average daily shipping levels compared to the past three months spiked in February.
- 37 percent of companies reported that shipping levels are above levels of 3 months ago (up substantially from 23 percent in January)
- 40 percent reported no change (compared to 37 percent in January)
- 23 percent reported that February shipping levels are below levels of 3 months ago (compared to 40 percent last month)
"The near-term outlook for new orders and shipments in the metalforming industry has shifted positively in the past month, following a severe downturn in the fourth quarter," noted William E. Gaskin, PMA president. "PMA's monthly orders and shipments survey indicated that there was a 20 percent decrease in shipments in December, compared to November, so anticipated first-quarter improvement is welcome news."
Despite positive trends, the number of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 17 percent in February, up from 15 percent in January.
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