Steel Products

Precision Metalforming Association Members Showing Optimism

Written by Sandy Williams

Written by: Sandy Williams

Metalforming companies are expecting a spike in business conditions during the next three months.

The February 2013 Precision Metalforming Association reported that 37 percent of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 32 percent in January), 55 percent believe that activity will remain unchanged (up from 50 percent last month) and only 8 percent anticipate that activity will decline (down significantly from 18 percent in January).

Orders are also expected to strengthen in the next three months with 50 percent forecasting an increase in orders, up 6 percent from January, and 39 percent believing order activity will remain unchanged.

Shipping levels were reported above levels of three months ago by 40 percent of participants, up from 21 percent in January.

Metalforming companies reported more of their workforce on short time or layoff—19 percent in February compared to 15 percent in January. In February 2012 only 7 percent of workers were reported on short time or layoff.

“Data in this month’s report anticipating an improvement in orders and shipments have been echoed by participants in recent executive roundtables held in Connecticut, Massachusetts and California over the past few weeks,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “A more positive outlook for the balance of 2013’s Q-1 is a welcome improvement compared to the soft 2012 Q-4 experienced by most metalforming companies. The Institute for Supply Management’s PM report, which includes the metalforming industry, also has recently trended upward. Growth is expected to be modest but should continue throughout the spring unless a lack of leadership in Washington, D.C. leads to an economic shock resulting from sequestration or other issues.”

The monthly Business Conditions Report is based on a sampling of 131 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada and is considered an economic indicator for manufacturing.

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