According to the May 2012 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a softening in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 126 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
The May report shows that only 24% of participants anticipate economic activity to improve during the next three months (down from 37% in April), 60% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 51% last month) and 16% report that activity will decline (up from 12% in April).
Metalforming companies also forecast a downward trend in incoming orders during the next three months, with 34% anticipating an increase in orders (compared to 43% in April), 46% expecting no change (up from 41% in April) and 20% predicting a decrease in orders (up from 16% last month).
Average daily shipping levels declined in May. Only 37% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 46% in April), 44% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 41% last month), and 19% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 13% in April).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 10% in May, from 9% in April. However, this number is lower than May 2011, when metalformers reported 14% of their workforce on short time or layoff.