U.S. Business Conditions Reflect Caution
Jun 15, 2004
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U.S. metalforming companies reported that they expect a modest decline in current average daily shipping levels and expressed a cautious view of the outlook for overall economic activity for the next 3 months, according to the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) June 2004 Business Conditions Report. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing and is based on data provided by 198 metalforming companies.

The June 2004 report, which is based on business conditions as of June 1, 2004, showed that expectations for incoming orders over the next 3 months were also lowered, perhaps reflecting little more than a seasonal decline as summer approaches, PMA said.

The association also said that metalforming companies have reported modestly growing shipping levels for most of the past year, after nearly 30 months of flat performance brought on by the manufacturing recession, which began in fall 2000. In the June 2004 report, a fairly strong 53 percent continued to project higher shipments, but that was down from the 66 percent that were projecting increases in May 2004. Another 30 percent reported that they expected no change in shipments in June, up from 26 percent who projected no change in shipments in May. A total of 17 percent projected that their shipments would decline, up from 8 percent who expected declines in May’s report.

General optimism for the overall economy also lagged in June, with just 36 percent of participants expecting the economy to grow over the next 3 months, compared to a strong 54 percent who anticipated economic growth in May. On a positive note, most respondents that shifted from an expectation of growth shifted to the “same” rating, rather than to an expectation of a general economic decline in the next 3 months.

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