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Business Conditions Report: November 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

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CLEVELAND, OH—November 28, 2016—According to the November 2016 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a slight decline in business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 124 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The November report shows a minor dip in economic activity, with only 21% of participants predicting activity will improve in the next three months (compared to 22% in October), 54% anticipating no change (down from 58% last month) and 25% believing that economic activity will decline (up from 20% in October).

Current average daily shipping levels also dropped in November. Thirty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 34% in October), 39% report that levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 41% last month) and 31% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 25% in October).

However, metalforming companies forecast a slight improvement in incoming orders during the next three months, with 29% expecting an increase in orders (up from 25% in October), 48% anticipating no change (compared to 55% last month) and 23% predicting a decrease in orders (up from 20% in October).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 14% in November, up from 12% in October. The November 2016 figure is the same as it was in November 2015.

“The outlook for orders and shipments in the overall metalforming industry is expected to soften modestly over the next several months, through year-end 2016,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “While the automotive industry continues to produce light trucks and certain other vehicles at a strong pace, passenger-car production has softened, and other industries, such as heavy truck, agriculture/off highway and energy-related markets continue to underperform. The wild card for business conditions in the first quarter of 2017 is likely to be policies announced by the new Trump Administration during the first several weeks after inauguration day, January 20, 2017. Policy statements made by President-elect Trump and his cabinet members will undoubtedly impact business optimism. The good news for the metalforming industry, and manufacturing generally, is that Mr. Trump has made it clear he supports a strong manufacturing base in the United States.”

The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979. Full report results are available at http://www.pma.org/public/business_reports/pdf/BCREP.pdf. PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $137-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry. PMA leads companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming, Fabricating Product News and 3D Metal Printing magazines.