PMA’s February Business Conditions Report
The February report shows that only 33% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (down from 45% in January), 59% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 49% last month) and 8% believe that economic activity will decline (up from 6% in January).
Metalforming companies also anticipate a slight decline in incoming orders during the next three months, with 44% predicting an increase in orders (down from 50% in January), 48% anticipating no change (compared to 42% in January) and 8% expecting a decrease in orders (the same percentage reported last month).
However, current average daily shipping levels improved in February. Thirty-eight percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 25% in January), 44% report that levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 54% last month) and only 18% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 21% in January).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to 8% in February, down from 9% in January. The February 2015 figure marks an increase from this time last year, when 6% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
“For the near term, business conditions for metalforming companies, especially those supplying the automotive industry, remain strong,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “However, global economic concerns in much of Europe, the Soviet Union, South America and the increasing strength of the U.S. dollar globally are concerns impacting the outlook for the next three to six months. Employment levels continue to be strong but challenges recruiting skilled employees continue. The softening near-term outlook reflects concerns over the public policy failures in Washington, D.C., regarding corporate tax reform, unabated growth in the number and complexity of federal regulations affecting the manufacturing sector, and the lack of cooperation among the Senate, House of Representatives and the White House.”