According to the November 2010 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate virtually unchanged 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 November report shows that 20% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (the same percentage reported in October), 57% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 54% last month) and 23% report that activity will decline (down from 26% in October).
Metalforming companies also expect little change in incoming orders for the next three months. Twenty-five percent of participants predict an increase in orders (the same percentage as October), 50% anticipate no change (compared to 45% last month) and 25% forecast a decrease in orders (down from 30% in October).
However, average daily shipping levels dipped somewhat in November. Only 27% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 32% in October), 45% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 49% in October), and 28% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 19% in October).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 15% in November from 17% in October. This number is at its lowest level since January 2008 when only 14% of companies had workers on short time or layoff.
“Metalforming companies have generally experienced a solid recovery in orders and shipments during the past 15 months, beginning in July 2009,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “A seasonal dip in shipments is expected in December through the holidays, and then the slow but steady recovery is expected to continue. Based on PMA’s Monthly Orders and Shipments survey, new orders through the third quarter are up 48% from the same period in 2009 and shipments are up 41%. Orders and shipments both experienced a seasonal decline in July and the data in this month’s Business Conditions survey indicate there is likely to be another seasonal dip in December. However, 75% of our members expect incoming orders to hold steady or improve as we enter January 2011.”