Press Room

Press Room

September 2018 Business Conditions Report

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano



CLEVELAND, OH—September 25, 2018—Metalforming companies anticipate steady business conditions during the next three months, according to the September 2018 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 110 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The September report shows that 28% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (compared to 29% in August), 62% expect no change (the same percentage reported last month), and 10% anticipate a decline in activity (up from 9% in August).

“Our members remain resilient, as evidenced by little change in their outlook for economic activity and incoming orders month to month,” said PMA President Roy Hardy. “However, members also continue to report higher steel prices and longer lead times as a result of the Section 232 steel tariffs and are concerned about their ability to compete with companies in Europe and Asia if the tariffs are not rescinded.”

Metalforming companies expect little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 37% predicting an increase in orders (the same percentage reported in August), 48% anticipating no change in orders (up from 46% in August), and 15% forecasting a decrease in orders (down from 17% last month).

However, current average daily shipping levels strengthened in September. Fifty-three percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the levels of three months ago (up from 32% in August), 34% report that levels are the same (compared to 44% the previous month), and 13% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 24% in August).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff decreased to 3% in September, down from 4% in August. At this time last year, 4% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff. 

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 800 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 and 3D Metal Printing magazines.