July PMA Business Conditions Report Shows a Slight Dip

The monthly survey shows softness in orders and shipments.

According to the July 2013 Business Conditions Report published by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), metalforming companies expect a slight dip in business conditions over the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 124 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The July report shows that only 22 percent of participants believe that economic activity will improve during the next three months (down from 28 percent in June). Sixty-three percent predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 59 percent in June), and 15 percent forecast that activity will decline (compared to 13 percent in June).


Metalforming companies also expect a slight decline in incoming orders during the next three months, with 28 percent anticipating an increase in orders (down from 31 percent in June), 53 percent predicting no change (compared to 52 percent last month) and 19 percent expecting a decrease in orders (up from 17 percent in June).

Average daily shipping levels decreased in July. Twenty-six percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 32 percent in June), 44 percent report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (the same percentage reported in June), and 30 percent report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 24 percent in June).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to 9 percent in July, down from 12 percent in June. The July figure is the lowest it has been since April 2012, the last time only 9 percent of metalformers reported workers on short time or layoff.

“Softness in orders and shipments reflected in this month’s survey are confirmed by PMA’s control group of companies who report their orders and shipments on a monthly basis,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Year-to-date shipments for the first half of 2013 are down 4 percent compared to 2012. When comparing this year to last, there was strong momentum built up for Q-1 shipments in 2012, which then leveled out during Q-2, and generally declined through the second half of the year. In 2013, we saw a sharp uptick in January, then very modest upward trending in shipments during the subsequent months. The automotive market, which comprises just under half of the shipments of PMA member companies, has provided the most strength year-to-date.”

Full report results are available at pma.org/public/business_reports/pdf/BCREP.pdf.