Metalformers’ business outlook worsens

Written by Ethan Bernard

Most metalformers expect economic activity to be level to down in the coming months, according to the May Business Conditions Report from the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA).

Every month, PMA conducts a survey of ~100 metalforming companies in the US and Canada. The results provide an economic indicator for the manufacturing sector for the next three months.

In the May report, only 19% of the respondents said they expect an increase in general economic activity in the next three months, down from 21% in April. Additionally, 26% foresee a decrease in activity, up from 12% in April, while 55% predicted no change in activity vs. 67% a month earlier.

“For most of this year, metalformers’ expectations for business conditions were fairly steady,” David Klotz, PMA president, said in a statement on Thursday.

However, he noted that “this month’s survey shows that members are increasingly concerned with a slowdown in the economy, trade conflicts that could further increase the costs of important inputs including steel and aluminum, and a lack of progress on the tax package in Congress.”

PMA said metalformers predict only slight changes in incoming orders, with 49% of survey respondents expecting no change in orders during the next three months (vs. 54% in April); 32% predicting orders to increase (vs. 33% in April); and 19% forecasting a drop in orders (vs. 13% a month earlier).

For current average daily shipping levels, PMA said levels remained virtually unchanged in May. In the survey, 49% reported no change in shipping levels (vs. 48% in April); 21% logged an increase in levels (equal with last month); and 30% posted a drop in levels (vs. 31% in April).

Ethan Bernard

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