PMA Survey: Business Conditions Expected to Decline Slightly into New Year

Written by Brett Linton

Metalforming companies are expecting a minor decline in business conditions during the next three months, according to the latest survey by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).

The majority of the November survey respondents (79 percent) expect economic activity to remain the same or decline. Shipping levels were reported to be overall steady, with the average daily shipping level slightly down over October. Incoming orders are expected to be steady or increase according to 77 percent of the respondents.

14 percent of companies reported that a portion of their workforce was on short time or layoff in November, up from 12 percent in October and 8 percent in September. This is unchanged compared to November 2015.

“The outlook for orders and shipments in the overall metalforming industry is expected to soften modestly over the next several months, through year-end 2016,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “While the automotive industry continues to produce light trucks and certain other vehicles at a strong pace, passenger-car production has softened, and other industries, such as heavy truck, agriculture/off highway and energy-related markets continue to underperform. The wild card for business conditions in the first quarter of 2017 is likely to be policies announced by the new Trump Administration during the first several weeks after inauguration day, January 20, 2017. Policy statements made by President-elect Trump and his cabinet members will undoubtedly impact business optimism. The good news for the metalforming industry, and manufacturing generally, is that Mr. Trump has made it clear he supports a strong manufacturing base in the United States.”

The November survey was based on a sampling of 124 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

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