Press Room

Press Room

September 2023 Business Conditions Report: Metalformers Predict Decline in Economic Activity Amid Concern on Impact of UAW Strike and Other Factors

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

CLEVELAND, OH—September 27, 2023—In a significant decline in sentiment from last month, metalforming companies anticipate a downturn in business conditions in the coming months, according to the September 2023 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, PMA’s report provides an economic indicator for the next three months of manufacturing, sampling 98 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

PMA’s September report shows that 50% of metalforming companies expect a decrease in general economic activity in the next three months (a significant change from 29% in August), 42% predict no change in activity (compared to 53% in August) and only 8% forecast an increase in activity (from 18% last month).

Metalformers also anticipate a decline in incoming orders, with 47% of survey respondents expecting a decrease in orders during the next three months (up significantly from 28% in August), 34% predicting no change (compared to 46% last month) and 19% forecasting an increase in orders (compared to 26% in August).

However, current average daily shipping levels improved somewhat in September, with 23% of responding companies reporting an increase in shipping levels (compared to 16% in August), 42% reporting no change (the same percentage as last month) and 35% reporting a decrease in shipping levels (down from 42% in August).

“PMA has many members who supply the automotive sector and the prospects of a prolonged labor strike against the major automakers certainly is reflected in this month’s Business Conditions Report,” said PMA President David Klotz. “PMA members hope that both sides reach an agreement as soon as possible to avoid further disruption to the economy. I am optimistic about the resiliency of the metalforming industry. At the recently completed FABTECH 2023 show in Chicago, I saw firsthand the level of business activity among the 40,000 manufacturers in attendance, a 26% increase from the previous show. I heard about sales, significant lead generation and brisk foot traffic from PMA members who exhibited at the show.”

Only 6% of metalforming companies reported an increase in lead times in September (compared to 11% in August). Eight percent of companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in August (decreasing from 9% in August), while 40% of companies are currently expanding their workforce (compared to 46% last month). 

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 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 tradeshows, and MetalForming magazine.