According to the January 2010 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies are increasingly optimistic as the new year kicks off. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 141 metalforming companies in the U.S. and Canada.
The January report shows that 45% of participants expect an improvement in economic activity during the next 3 months (a jump from 28% in December), 45% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 50% last month), and only 10% report that activity will decline (down from 22% in December).
A majority of metalforming companies also anticipate an uptick in incoming orders during the next 3 months. Increased orders are expected by 52% (up from 35% in December), 38% expect no change (compared to 40% the previous month), and only 10% predict a decrease in orders (down from 25% in December).
Expectations for current average daily shipping levels remained fairly steady in January, with more than half of responding companies indicating that expectations for shipments remained the same. Thirty-three percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of 3 months ago (down from 37% in December), 53% report no change (compared to 36% in December), and 14% reported that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (down from 27% in December).
The number of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 52% in January, down from 56% in December. This is the lowest level since November 2008, when 42% of companies had workers on short time or layoff.
“PMA members continue to report that business conditions are improving and the January report reinforces their optimism for increased orders and shipments in the months ahead,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Beginning in mid-summer, the order books of PMA member companies began to grow with orders and shipments rising above their respective 12-month rolling averages in September through November (the most recent month for which PMA has data). January’s numbers for orders, with 52 percent expecting increases and only 10 percent anticipating decreases, is the most positive report in several years. Most metalforming companies have reduced their costs dramatically and are beginning to return to profitability,” he concluded.
The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979. With nearly 1,100 members, PMA represents the U.S. $91-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming, and roll forming technologies.
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