Press Room

Press Room

May 2020 Business Conditions Report: Members Expect Challenging Times to Continue

Thursday, May 14, 2020

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano

CLEVELAND, OH—May 14, 2020—Metalforming companies expect challenging times to continue during the next three months amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the May 2020 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 112 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The May 2020 report revealed that metalforming companies, while continuing to predict declines in activity, are somewhat more optimistic about the trend of economic activity and incoming orders than they were in April, when the Business Conditions Report recorded its sharpest decline in predictions across almost every category since PMA began publishing the report in 1979. 

The May report shows that 54% of participants predict a decline in economic activity during the next three months (a decrease from 87% in April), 24% expect no change (increasing from five percent last month), and 22% anticipate an improvement in economic activity (a rise from only eight percent in April).

Seventy percent of metalforming companies predict a decrease in incoming orders compared to three months ago (compared to 82% reported in April), 16% expect no change in orders (compared to 13% in April), and 14% anticipate an increase in orders (compared to only five percent last month).

However, current average daily shipping levels continued to drop, with 86% reporting lower levels than three months ago (increasing from 65% in April), 11% reporting no change (decreasing from 21% in April), and only three percent reporting an increase (decreasing from 14% in April). 

Fifty percent of responding metalforming companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff, an increase from 40% in April. This is the highest percentage reported since the 2008-09 economic downturn. From November 2008 through December 2009, metalforming companies reported a minimum of 42% of workers on short time or layoff, with the peak of 85% occurring in April 2009. 

“The May report shows that PMA members expect the unprecedented challenges to their businesses created by the COVID-19 pandemic to continue,” said PMA President David Klotz. “I am extremely proud of PMA members and also our Washington, D.C.-based advocacy team for helping our members through this time of economic uncertainty. Our advocacy team is working to ensure that Congress understands the kind of support that small and medium-sized manufacturers need to get the economy moving again. As debate continues in Washington on legislation to provide additional financial support, PMA is advocating on behalf of its members for, among other provisions, an extension of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness term. This would allow manufacturers to have more time to rehire workers.”  

More information about PMA’s advocacy efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic is available at

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.