Steel Products

Metal Fabricators Expecting Stability and Moderate Growth in 2nd Half

Written by Sandy Williams

Metal fabricators are reporting stable business conditions according to the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association’s inaugural survey of small to mid-sized metal fabricating companies.

No significant growth or shrinkage was noted in new order activity by most respondents. Commodities and logistic prices were also seen as fairly stable. New trucking rules have some respondents expecting higher freight costs in the next quarter.

Operating capacity for small fabricators has been at 63.74 percent, well below the normal capacity of 85 percent, leaving ample room for growth.

Capital expenditures were on the horizon for manufacturers and fabricators six months ago but little expenditure in machinery and technology actually occurred in 2013. Most companies (58 percent) are delaying capital equipment purchases and 34 percent are putting plans on hold indefinitely due to lingering concerns about economic recovery.

The future outlook is positive with moderate growth or stability expected for the balance of 2013.

The FMA survey is distributed to top ranking industry executives of more than 17,000 companies providing parts and assemblies to the automotive, aerospace, medical equipment and heavy equipment industries. For the first survey, 280 metal fabricating companies responded. The majority of companies responding have less than 19 employees and the rest less than 50.

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