Business Conditions Report: March 2014
CLEVELAND, OH—March 14, 2014—According to the March 2014 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a slight improvement in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 117 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
The March report shows that 38% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 32% in February), 54% anticipate that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 60% last month) and 8% believe that economic activity will decline (the same percentage reported in February).
Current average daily shipping levels also improved modestly in March. Forty-eight percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 46% in February), 37% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 31% last month), and 15% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 23% in February).
However, metalforming companies anticipate a slight dip in incoming orders during the next three months, with 44% forecasting an increase in orders (down from 50% in February), 45% expecting no change (compared to 41% in February) and 11% predicting a decrease in orders (up from 9% in February).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff rose to 11% in March, up from 6% in February. The March 2014 figure is at the same level as it was in March 2013.
“Business conditions continue to be quite positive in the overall metalforming industry,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Companies continue to be cautious, due to higher costs of health care, continued threats of increased regulatory burdens and the failure of job figures to rise as they should if the economy is on a path to a stronger recovery. However, in a separate PMA monthly orders and shipment report, there were strong numbers posted for January new orders and shipments vs December 2013. It looks like Q-1 is off to a good start, and this month’s Business Conditions Report suggests that this should continue for at least the next few months.”
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.