Press Room

Press Room

Business Conditions Report: March 2019

Thursday, March 28, 2019

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano

CLEVELAND, OH—March 28, 2019—Metalforming companies sent mixed signals regarding their expectations for business conditions during the next three months, according to the March 2019 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 March report shows that 37% of participants anticipate an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from 27% in February), 49% forecast no change (compared to 66% last month), and 14% predict a decline in activity (up from 7% in February).

“PMA’s latest report shows more members are optimistic about improving economic conditions over the next several months, which is a good sign,” said PMA President David Klotz. “However, the percentage of members who expect a decline in economic activity, while still a relatively small portion of respondents, doubled last month. We will need to gather more data over the next several months to determine a trend, but what we do know is that our members are still facing headwinds because of the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum. PMA will continue to advocate in Washington, D.C. to remove this tax on manufacturers as soon as possible.”

Metalforming companies expect incoming orders to rise during the next three months, with 50% predicting an increase in orders (up from 38% in February), 38% anticipating no change in orders (compared to 54% in February), and 12% forecasting a decrease in orders (compared to 8% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels improved slightly in March. Thirty-six percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the levels of three months ago (up from 28% in February), 43% report that levels are the same (compared to 54% the previous month), and 21% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 18% in February).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff rose to 8% in March, up from 6% in February. At this time last year, only 3% 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 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 more than 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.