According to the August 2009 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies predict a spike in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 137 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
The August report shows that metalformers are feeling more optimistic about general economic activity than they have since February 2004. Fifty-seven percent of participants anticipate an improvement in overall economic activity (up from 37% in July), 35% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 47% last month) and only eight percent report that activity will decline (compared to 16% in July).
A high percentage of metalforming companies also forecast an increase in incoming orders during the next three months. Sixty-two percent predict an increase in orders (up from 46% in July), 27% expect no change (down from 39% the previous month), and 11% of companies anticipate a decrease in orders (compared to 15% in July).
Current average daily shipping levels also increased in August. Thirty-nine percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 31% in July), 37% report no change (up from 32% in July) and 24% report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (down from 37% reported last month).
The number of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff decreased to 72% in August, down from 81% in July. While this is the lowest level since January 2009 when 64% of companies had workers on short time or layoff, the level remains at a substantially higher rate than August of 2008 (25%). The decrease may also reflect that companies have eliminated the positions of employees formerly on layoff status but whom they do not plan to recall in the near future.
Full report results are available at www.pma.org/about/stats/BCreport.