For the third consecutive month, manufacturers expect business conditions to improve, according to the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for the manufacturing world, sampling 159 manufacturing companies. Information is based on conditions as of Jan. 1, 2004.
Survey respondents indicated sharp optimism when asked about the trend of general economic activity for the next 3 months compared with today. Nearly 60 percent expected activity to improve (the highest mark in more than 2 years, and up from 53 percent last month), and only 6 percent thought that activity would drop (the best number since April 2002).
Economic confidence was also evident in the answers to a question on incoming orders. More than 60 percent of survey participants predicted that incoming orders would increase over the next 3 months as compared to the last 3 months. This is the highest percentage since March 2002. A mere 11 percent said that orders would decrease, and 28 percent thought they would remain the same.
The survey also reported on the amount of plants that have work force on short time or layoff. Nineteen percent reported that they do have reduced staff (similar mark as the previous 2 months).
to Daily News