PMA Optimism Falls in 3 Month Outlook

Written by Sandy Williams

Metal forming companies expressed less optimism in the February Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Out of a sampling of 119 metal forming companies in the U.S. and Canada, only 33 percent of participants expect economic activity to improve over the next three months, down from 45 percent in January.

Incoming orders are expected to decline slightly in the coming months. Current average daily shipping levels, however, are higher than three months ago.

Companies reporting layoffs or workers on short time dropped to 8 percent in February from 9 percent the previous month. This time last year, only 6 percent reported layoffs and short time.

For the near term, business conditions for metal forming companies, especially those supplying the automotive industry, remain strong,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “However, global economic concerns in much of Europe, the Soviet Union, South America and the increasing strength of the U.S. dollar globally are concerns impacting the outlook for the next three to six months. Employment levels continue to be strong but challenges recruiting skilled employees continue. The softening near-term outlook reflects concerns over the public policy failures in Washington, D.C., regarding corporate tax reform, unabated growth in the number and complexity of federal regulations affecting the manufacturing sector, and the lack of cooperation among the Senate, House of Representatives and the White House.”

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