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Business Conditions Report: January 2017

Friday, January 27, 2017

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CLEVELAND, OH—January 27, 2017—According to the January 2017 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect strong business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 115 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The January report shows continued optimism in economic activity, with 48% of participants predicting activity will improve in the next three months (compared to 43% in December), 44% anticipating no change (down from 50% the previous month) and 8% believing that economic activity will decline (compared to 7% in December).

Metalforming companies also forecast robust incoming orders during the next three months, with 51% expecting an increase in orders (up from 47% in December), 42% anticipating no change (compared to 43% in December) and only 7% predicting a decrease in orders (down from 10% in December).

Current average daily shipping levels remained steady in January. Thirty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 27% in December), 40% report that levels are the same as three months ago (down from 47% the previous month) and 30% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 26% in December).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff decreased to 10% in January, down from 11% in December. That’s better than January 2016, when 12% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

“The metalforming industry’s optimistic view of the economy rose for the second consecutive month since the election, with 48% of respondents expecting an upward move,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “The largest shift was an11% shift in expectations from “same” to “up” in their outlook, and only 8% expect a decline. Expectations for incoming orders also spiked, reaching the highest level in several years. President Trump’s meeting at the White House on the first business day (January 23, 2017) of his administration sent a strong message that he will focus on manufacturing as a key element of job growth and economic strength to create economic security and a brighter future for America. Key issues discussed included tax reform, including a mechanism to incentivize repatriation of offshore profits, a dramatic reduction in the overall regulatory burden for manufacturing, and tax reform to boost capital investment and lower overall rates for all manufacturers.”  

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.