Highlights from the December Precision Metalforming Association report: 40% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from only 20% in November), while 46% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 57% last month). Only 14% report expect activity to decline over the short term—down 23% in November.

Metalforming companies also expect improvement in incoming orders for the next three months, with 44% of participants predicting an increase in orders (up from 25% in November). Meanwhile, 40% anticipate no change (compared to 50% last month), and 16% predict a decrease in orders—down from 25% in November.

“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% higher shipments and 44% higher orders during the first 10 months of the year compared to 2009.”

Although average daily shipping levels were for the month of December (35% of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago), Gaskin says it’s no cause for alarm. “The end-of-year fall off appears to be a seasonal dip and not a harbinger of a double-dip recession,” he explained.

The complete Precision Metalformers Association December Business Conditions Report is available online.