September Business Conditions Report: Manufacturers Expecting Slight Dip

CLEVELAND, OH—September 16, 2013—According to the September 2013 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a dip in business conditions during the next three months.  Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 130 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The September report shows that 14% of participants forecast that economic activity will decline during the next three months (up from only 7% in August), 51% predict that activity will remain unchanged (down from 59% in August) and 35% believe that economic activity will improve (compared to 34% in August).

Metalforming companies also expect a decline in incoming orders during the next three months, with 18% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 10% in August), 37% anticipating an increase in orders (compared to 38% in August) and 45% predicting no change (down from 52% last month).

Average daily shipping levels rose slightly in September.  Thirty-four percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 30% in August), 44% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 41% last month), and only 22% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 29% in August).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 13% in September, up from 10% in August.  The September figure is better than it was at this time last year, when 15% of metalformers reported workers on short time or layoff.

“PMA’s member companies are optimistic about the trend for fourth quarter shipments, in spite of a modest decline in incoming orders being anticipated over the next three months,” said PMA President Bill Gaskin.  “Last year at this time, expectations for both fourth quarter shipments and orders were soft.  This year, momentum in shipments seems to be building toward a modest fall rally, which is generally consistent with the most recent ISM report.”

The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979.  Full report results are available at http://www.pma.org/public/business_reports/pdf/BCREP.pdf.  PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes.  Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry.  PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming and Fabricating Product News magazines.

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