PMA’s August Business Conditions Report
The August report shows a slight upswing in economic activity, with 26% of participants predicting that activity will improve in the next three months (up from 18% in July), 59% expecting no change (down from 65% last month) and 15% believing that economic activity will decline (down from 17% in July.
Metalforming companies forecast little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 33% anticipating an increase in orders (down from 36% in July), 45% predicting no change (the same percentage reported in July) and 22% expecting a decrease in orders (up from 19% last month).
Current average daily shipping levels dipped slightly in August. Twenty-eight percent of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (compared to 23% in July), 44% report that levels are the same as three months ago (down from 48% last month) and 28% report an increase in shipping levels (compared to 29% in July).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff remained steady at 11% in August, the same number reported in July. The August 2015 figure is higher than this time last year, when only 6% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
“PMA member companies are somewhat less optimistic today than they were one year ago, but overall their outlook for the next quarter is favorable,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “The automotive industry remains quite robust, but a number of other important markets, such as heavy equipment, energy-related industries and construction, continue to lag growth expectations. At a recent PMA CFO Roundtable, there was modest concern expressed about slower growth, due to the strong dollar and the expectation that the Federal Reserve might begin raising interest rates. However, it was nearly universally believed that single-digit percentage growth in orders and shipments would continue as long as there were no sudden shocks due to adverse domestic or global events.”
Full report results are available here.