Metalforming Firms Expecting Softer Business Conditions

Written by Sandy Williams

The Precision Metalforming Association expects continuing weaker business conditions for the next three months. The PMA’s October Business Conditions Report showed a “minor, but continuing,” downturn in economic activity along with anticipation that orders will soften in the coming months.

Current daily shipping levels dipped in October with 33 percent of survey participants reporting a decrease in shipping levels (up from 31 percent in September).

Metalforming companies reported 18 percent of their workforce on short time or layoff compared to 13 percent in September and 7 percent in October 2014.

“Metalforming companies report that their current daily shipping levels have declined modestly each month for six consecutive months, after peaking in April 2015,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Expectations for incoming orders also indicate continued softness after peaking in January 2015, when 50% of PMA’s metalforming companies expected orders to increase during a rolling three-month period, to 33% in October.

”One-third of PMA’s manufacturing members also reported that their current average shipping levels are below their shipments of three months ago, rising from only 11% in April 2015. PMA’s October Business Conditions Report closely correlates to the recent softening of the Institute of Supply Management’s PMI® Index, which was 50.2% in September 2015, the lowest reading since May 2013, when the PMI registered 50.1%. The good news is that some 67% of PMA members still report that their current average daily shipments are the same as (43%) or higher (24%) than they were three months ago, with automotive suppliers continuing to be the most optimistic.”

The PMA Business Conditions report is a monthly economic indicator of manufacturing, sampling opinions of 120 U.S. and Canadian metalforming companies.

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