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Business Conditions Report: March 2017

Thursday, March 30, 2017

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CLEVELAND, OH—March 30, 2017—According to the March 2017 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies are optimistic about business conditions during the next three months. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 119 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

 

The March report shows strong economic activity, with 50% of participants predicting an improvement in the next three months (up from 43% last month), 47% forecasting no change (compared to 50% in February), and only 3% believing that economic activity will decline (compared to 7% the previous month).

 

Metalforming companies forecast steady incoming orders during the next three months, with 52% expecting an increase in orders (compared to 54% in February), 44% anticipating no change (compared to 43% in February), and 4% predicting a decrease in orders (up from 3% in February).


Current average daily shipping levels spiked in March. Fifty-three percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 38% in February), 30% report that levels are the same as three months ago (down from 44% the previous month), and 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 dropped to 9% in March, down from 10% in February. That’s significantly better than March 2016, when 17% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

 

“PMA members continued to report higher expectations for general business conditions and specifically for increased orders in March, along with a strong uptick in orders shipped – up 15 percent vs. the February report, reflecting strong movement from “same” to “up,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “The increase in orders was stronger than the 5.7 percent jump in orders reported by the March Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report, and mirrors the general sentiment for the manufacturing segment. Underlying growth in consumer spending, GDP growth and other key economic indicators reported by the Federal Reserve are lagging those of the metalforming sector.”

 

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.