PMA Manufacturers Keep Eyes on NAFTA and Trade Actions

Written by Sandy Williams

Metalforming manufacturers continue to be cautious in their three-month outlook as members watch NAFTA negotiations and trade actions with trepidation. The November Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report showed 30 percent of participants expecting improvement in economic activity in the next three months—the same percentage as October.

Little change is expected in incoming orders during the next three months. Of the 114 metalforming companies sampled in November, 49 percent expect no change (up from 47 percent in October), 32 percent expect an increase, and 19 percent expect orders to decline.

Current average daily shipping levels rose slightly in November. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed say levels are higher than three months ago compared to 34 percent in October. Only 15 percent, compared to 21 percent in October, say levels have declined.

Just 1 percent of metalforming companies reported workforce on short time or layoff in November compared to 3 percent in October.

“PMA members continue to express caution regarding economic conditions for the manufacturing sector in the coming months,” said PMA President Roy Hardy. “Uncertainty over potential action in Washington that could profoundly impact the economic health of manufacturers, particularly in regard to the future of NAFTA and potential imposition of steel tariffs, results in PMA members continuing to have a guarded outlook. However, manufacturers also continue to show not only resilience, but the innovation that sets U.S. manufacturers apart from their global competition.”

Latest in Economy