Highlights of the November Precision Metalforming Report: metalformers expect general economic activity to decline during the next three months. For instance, 27 % of participants forecast an improvement in overall economic activity, down from 30% in October, 48% predict that activity will remain unchanged, compared to 54% last month, and 25% report that activity will decline—up from 16% in October.

The percentage of metalforming companies forecasting a decrease in incoming orders during the next three months rose from 22% in October to 31% in November. Increased orders are expected by 31%, down from 38% in October, and 38% anticipate no change, down from 40% the previous month. By comparison, last year at this time, 67% of members reported declining orders.

Current average daily shipping levels remained steady for the third month in a row. Fifty-three percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, compared to 54% in October, while 32% report no change, compared to 31% in October. Lastly, 15% report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago, the same percentage reported last month. In contrast, one year ago, daily shipping levels were declining rapidly, with 59% of members reporting declines.

“Business conditions being reported by PMA members are consistent with the uncertainties most manufacturers are facing,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “They are unsure whether the recent rebound in orders and shipments will continue at current or higher levels, or whether they will decline as we approach year-end and early 2010.”

Compared with one year ago, the outlook for the metalforming industry is very positive, Gaskin noted. However, one issue of growing concern is the ability for companies, whose profitability has been temporarily impaired by the recession, to access the credit they need to finance growth. “PMA has been working with members of Congress, the Small Business Administration and the White House to develop solutions to this growing problem,” added.