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Business Conditions Report: April 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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CLEVELAND, OH—April 26, 2017—According to the April 2017 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate a slight dip in business conditions during the next three months.  Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 120 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The April report shows 45% of participants predicting an improvement in general economic activity during the next three months (down from 50% last month), 47% forecasting no change (the same percentage reported in March), and 8% believing that economic activity will decline (compared to 3% the previous month).

Metalforming companies forecast a slight drop in incoming orders during the next three months, with 45% expecting an increase in orders (down from to 52% in March), 45% anticipating no change (compared to 44% in March), and 10% predicting a decrease in orders (up from 4% the previous month).

Current average daily shipping levels remained steady in April. Fifty-four percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 53% in March), 32% report that levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 30% the previous month), and 14% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 17% in March).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 6% in April, down from 9% in March. That’s significantly better than April 2016, when 16% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff. 

“Overall, the second quarter of 2017 continues to look very positive,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Metalforming companies reported rising shipments for the fifth consecutive month in April, with 86% reporting that they expect new orders to rise or at least equal current levels over the next three months. Concerns over the ability to hire skilled employees are rising, as only 6% of companies reported having employees on short-time or layoff. And 50% of PMA members reported that they are expanding their workforce. PMA members are expressing growing concerns that the U.S. Congress has not effectively addressed health care costs and does not yet have consensus on tax reform for corporations and Sub S entities, or on straightforward issues such as making it possible to repatriate offshore profits. These reforms would help boost the ability to invest in U.S. operations of multinational companies.” 

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.