Metalformers Expect Improved Business Conditions; Fewest Laid-Off Employees in 13+ Years
Jan 30, 2014
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Metalforming companies in North America expect improved business conditions in the next three months, according to the January 2014 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. One metric in the report—the measure of metalforming respondents with a portion of their workforce on short time/layoff—was at its best level since June 2000.

The monthly report samples 117 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The January report shows that:
• 46% of participants expect economic activity to improve in the next three months, up from 41% in December
• 47% expect activity to remain unchanged, from 46% in the previous month
• 7% expect economic activity to decline, from 13% in December

Metalforming companies also forecast a spike in incoming orders in the next three months:
• 54% expect an increase in orders—a big jump from 43% in December
• 41% expect no change in orders, from 43% in December
• 5% expect a decrease in orders, from 14% in December

Current average daily shipping levels improved in the January report:
• 35% of participants report shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, up from 31% in the December report
• 45% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago, from 43% in the previous month
• 20% report that shipping levels are lower than three months ago, from 26% in December

Metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff: 6% in January, down from 9% in the December report. This is the lowest level for this metric since June 2000, when metalformers reported 3% of their workforce on short time or layoff.

“PMA member companies are anticipating rising orders and shipments for Q-1 2014,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Metalforming companies averaged about five-percent growth in orders and two-percent growth in shipments during 2013, with shipments starting soft and improving in Q-2 and Q-3, with a flat Q-4. This was opposite of the 2012 pattern, when companies had a strong first half and then drifted down, ending flat for the year. Continued strong auto production and the general sense that fundamentals are improving somewhat indicate that growth in shipments by three to six% are possible.”

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