According to the August 2012 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a slight improvement in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 109 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. The August report shows that 23% of participants anticipate economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 19% in July), 46% predict that activity will remain unchanged (up from 45% last month) and 31% report that activity will decline (compared to 36% in July). Metalforming companies also expect a slight increase in incoming orders during the next three months, with 29% anticipating an increase in orders (compared to 26% in July), 40% forecasting no change (the same percentage reported last month) and 31% predicting a decrease in orders (down from 34% in July). Average daily shipping levels continued to decline in August. Only 17% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 26% in July), 43% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (the same percentage reported last month), and 40% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 31% in July).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 13% in August, up from 12% in July. The August figure remains similar to what it was one year ago when 12% of metalformers reported workers on short time or layoff. "Business conditions in the metalforming industry reflect continued concerns about economic conditions in the United States and increasingly in Europe," said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. "The modest uptick in expectations for new orders and the slight decline in shipments are typical for mid-summer, as companies look ahead to higher production levels common in the early fall, compared to summer. Year-to-date, through June, the average PMA member has experienced a 9% increase in orders and a 10% increase in shipments, so there has been solid growth in 2012, even though the most recent months have seen modest decreases in activity."