According to the December 2010 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate a significant spike in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 136 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. The December report shows that 40 percent of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from only 20 percent in November), 46 percent predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 57 percent last month) and 14 percent report that activity will decline (down from 23 percent in November).
Metalforming companies also expect improvement in incoming orders for the next three months. Forty-four percent of participants predict an increase in orders (up from 25 percent in November), 40 percent anticipate no change (compared to 50 percent last month) and 16 percent predict a decrease in orders (down from 25% in November). However, average daily shipping levels dipped in December. Thirty-five percent of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (up from 28 percent in November), 38 percent report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 45 percent in November), and 27 percent report an increase in shipping levels (the same percentage reported in November).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 16 percent in December from 15 percent in November. The number is much lower than one year ago, when 56 percent of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
"Metalforming company executives clearly are looking forward to an uptick in business levels after the holiday season," said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. "This follows a fairly strong performance in 2010, where our average member company experienced 38 percent higher shipments and 44 percent higher orders during the first 10 months of the year compared to 2009. The end-of-year fall off appears to be a seasonal dip and not a harbinger of a double-dip recession. PMA looks forward to working with pro-manufacturing legislators in the next Congress to improve the outlook for manufacturing in the years ahead."