The January report shows that 45% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up sharply from 29% in December), 49% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 58% last month) and only 6% believe that economic activity will decline (down from 13% in December).
Metalforming companies also anticipate a spike in incoming orders during the next three months, with 50% predicting an increase in orders (up from 37% in December), 42% anticipating no change (compared to 51% in December) and 8% expecting a decrease in orders (down from 12% in December).
Current average daily shipping levels improved slightly in January. Twenty-five percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 29% in December), 54% report that levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 38% last month) and only 21% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 33% in December).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to 9% in January, down from 12% in December. The January 2015 figure marks an increase from this time last year, when only 6% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
“PMA member companies reported a positive outlook for Q-1 2015, in terms of their general economic outlook and compared to their Q-4 shipments, which softened somewhat during the last few months of 2014,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Fully 50 percent of survey participants reported that current shipment levels are higher than in January 2014. Expectations for new orders are at the highest levels reported since January 2014, with only 8 percent forecasting a decline in orders in Q-1. Hopefully, this portends continued growth in shipments for the metalforming industry in the same 5 to 6 percent range as experienced during 2013 and 2014.”