According to the December 2010 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate a significant spike in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 136 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
The December report shows that 40% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from only 20% in November), 46% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 57% last month) and 14% report that activity will decline (down from 23% in November).
Metalforming companies also expect improvement in incoming orders for the next three months. Forty-four percent of participants predict an increase in orders (up from 25% in November), 40% anticipate no change (compared to 50% last month) and 16% predict a decrease in orders (down from 25% in November).
However, average daily shipping levels dipped in December. Thirty-five percent of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (up from 28% in November), 38% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 45% in November), and 27% report an increase in shipping levels (the same percentage reported in November).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 16% in December from 15% in November. The number is much lower than one year ago, when 56% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
“Metalforming company executives clearly are looking forward to an uptick in business levels after the holiday season,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “This follows a fairly strong performance in 2010, where our average member company experienced 38% higher shipments and 44% higher orders during the first 10 months of the year compared to 2009. The end-of-year fall off appears to be a seasonal dip and not a harbinger of a double-dip recession. PMA looks forward to working with pro-manufacturing legislators in the next Congress to improve the outlook for manufacturing in the years ahead.”