According to the December 2013 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect an upswing in business conditions over the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report samples 122 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
Forty-one percent of the December participants forecast that economic activity will improve over the next three months, up from 27 percent in November. An additional 46 percent predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 58 percent last month), and only 13 percent believe that economic activity will decline (down from 15 percent in November). Metalforming companies also expect a spike in incoming orders, with 43 percent anticipating an increase over the next three months, up from 33 percent in November. Meanwhile, 43 percent forecast no change, and 14 percent predict a decrease in orders.
However, average daily shipping levels decreased in December, with 26 percent of participants reporting a decrease in shipping levels compared to 22 percent in November. Thirty-one percent report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 37 percent in November), while 43 percent report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 41 percent the previous month). The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to 9 percent in December, down from 13 percent in November. The December figure is significantly lower than it was at this time last year, when 17 percent of metalformers reported workers on short time or layoff, and is at its lowest level since July 2013.
According to PMA President William E. Gaskin, the lower shipping trends are indicative of the typical end-of-year pattern. A stronger jobs report in November, as well as continued strength in the automotive sector, has helped to increase optimism for new orders.
The report’s full results are available at www.pma.org/public/business_reports/pdf/BCREP.pdf.