According to the October 2010 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate little change in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 121 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
The October report shows that 20% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (down from 22% in September), 54% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 59% last month) and 26% report that activity will decline (up from 19% in September).
Metalforming companies expect incoming orders to remain virtually unchanged for the next three months. Twenty-five percent of participants predict an increase in orders (down from 26% in September), 45% anticipate no change (compared to 49% last month) and 30% predict a decrease in orders (up from 25% in September).
Average daily shipping levels in October continued to be steady. Forty-nine percent of participants report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (up from 39% in September), 32% report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 40% in September), while 19% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 21% in September).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 17% in October from 19% in September. This number is significantly lower than it was one year ago when 60% of companies had workers on short time or layoff.
“October’s data reflect normal expectations for the 4th quarter with a modest shift to a more cautious outlook anticipating lower orders and shipments as year-end approaches with a shortened work schedule during the December holidays,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “PMA’s separate Monthly Orders and Shipments Report confirms that the metalforming industry has generally experienced a solid recovery in 2010, with year-to-date orders through August up 47%, on average, from the same period in 2009 and shipments up by 41%. New orders have been above the 12-month rolling average for 15 months, since July 2009, and shipments have been above the 12-month rolling average for 14 months, since August 2009. Most companies are still very cautious about making large capital investments and rehiring workers, but business trends continue to be positive.”