Press Room

Press Room

Business Conditions Report: May 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano

CLEVELAND, OH—May 29, 2019—Metalforming companies expect business conditions to continue in a downward trend during the next three months, according to the May 2019 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 119 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The May report shows that 19% of participants anticipate an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (down from 23% in April), 63% forecast no change (compared to 60% last month), and 18% predict a decline in activity (up from 17% in April).

“Despite positive economic and job-growth reports coming out of Washington, D.C., PMA’s monthly Business Conditions report shows that metalforming manufacturers are concerned about the U.S. economy,” said PMA President David Klotz. “Over the past quarter, the monthly report has shown a slow but steady decline in PMA members’ optimism regarding economic activity, reflected in their prediction of a slowdown in incoming orders. The survey results coincide with reports from across the country that the steel and aluminum tariffs are taking a toll on steel- and aluminum-using manufacturers. PMA members are losing business to overseas competitors who are paying global market prices for steel while the United States continues to be an island of high steel prices due to the steel tariffs. The Trump Administration’s termination of these tariffs for Canada and Mexico are an important first step, but all Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs need to end for our members to remain competitive and before further damage is done to our manufacturing sector.”

Metalforming companies anticipate incoming orders will decline during the next three months, with 27% predicting an increase in orders (down from 39% in April), 49% anticipating no change in orders (compared to 43% in April), and 24% forecasting a decrease in orders (compared to 18% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels decreased in May as well. Thirty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the levels of three months ago (down from 36% in April), 39% report that levels are the same (compared to 40% the previous month), and 31% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 24% in April).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 9% in May, up from 7% in April. At this time last year, none of the participating 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 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.