Metalforming industry shows growth for near term
Industry sees a "positive outlook" despite concerns about Washington.
According to the January 2012 Precision Metalforming Assoc. Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies predict improved business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 132 metalforming companies in the U.S. and Canada.
The January report shows that 41% of participants expect economic activity to improve during the next three months (up from 33% in December 2011), 54% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 57% last month) and only 5% report that activity will decline (down from 10% in December).
Metalforming companies also expect a spike in incoming orders during the next three months, with 51% anticipating an increase in orders (up from 40% in December), 40% forecasting no change (compared to 48% last month) and only 9% predicting a decrease in orders (down from 12% in December).
Average daily shipping levels improved in January. Thirty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 25% in December), 48% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 44% last month), and 22% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 31% in December).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff remained unchanged at 12% from December 2011 to January 2012. The percentage matches data reported one year ago, in January 2011.
“The metalforming industry continues to exhibit a positive outlook for 2012, despite the uncertainties created by the lack of political willpower in Washington, D.C., in Congress and the Administration, to address fundamental issues such as taxes, labor law changes and a wide range of growing regulatory obstacles that impact manufacturing,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Data from PMA’s 2011 Orders and Shipments Survey peg 2011 calendar year growth for new orders at 8% vs. 2010, with shipments up year-over-year by 11% compared to 2010. Based on PMA’s January Business Conditions Report, the first quarter of 2012 will provide a strong start to the year, consistent with the underlying strength in manufacturing which is helping to lead a slow, steady economic recovery.”