PMA’s March Business Conditions Report
The March report shows that 35% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 33% in February), 58% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 59% last month) and 7% believe that economic activity will decline (down from 8% in February).
Metalforming companies also anticipate little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 43% predicting an increase in orders (down from 44% in February), 47% anticipating no change (compared to 48% in February) and 10% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 8% last month).
Current average daily shipping levels also remained steady in March. Forty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (compared to 38% in February), 43% report that levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 44% last month) and only 17% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 18% in February).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 10% in March, up from 8% in February. The March 2015 figure marks a slight decrease from this time last year, when 11% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
“Results in PMA’s March report indicate that PMA member companies, especially those supplying the automotive market, are yet to be significantly impacted by slower-than-expected GDP growth, soft consumer demand, the stronger dollar and other indicators which might lead to a near-term slowdown in demand for metal stampings, assemblies and fabricated metal products,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Eighty percent of PMA members report shipping levels are the same or higher than one year ago, and 90 percent expect orders will be the same or trend higher over the three months ahead. The metalforming industry continues to hope that members of Congress will step up and act on legislative issues such as making bonus depreciation and the R&D tax credit permanent, allowing companies to more confidently plan their investments in new equipment and product development.”