Metalworking Index Continues Modest Growth Trend

Index posts identical readings over three-month period.

April’s Gardner Business Index (GBI): Metalworking registered 53.6 for a third month in a row, making the 2019 trend atypically static. April’s value is 10.4% lower than last year’s reading. Index readings above 50 indicate expanding business activity while those below 50 indicate contracting activity. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying index components observed that the Index — calculated as an average of its components — was supported by increased supplier deliveries, production and employment activity. Components including new orders, exports and backlogs lowered the Index. Both backlogs and exports contracted in April.

April’s growth in new orders extended the volatile pattern of this component reading first experienced in late 2018. Since reaching a peak in February 2018, the three-month moving-average trend in new orders activity has signaled decelerating growth. However, individual month-to-month changes have expressed a much more volatile seesaw motion. Throughout 2019, new orders readings have been the most volatile among all business index components. Unexpectedly, export orders readings have been very consistent in the last six months, with all readings falling within a nearly two-point range.