The May Precision Metalforming Report shows that 42% of participants expect an improvement in economic activity during the next three months—modestly down from 45% in April—while 48% predict that activity will remain unchanged, up from 45% last month. Meanwhile, just 10% report that activity will decline—the same percentage reported in April.

Other findings: The vast majority of metalforming companies forecast incoming orders to increase or remain fairly steady for the next three months. In fact, 46% anticipate increased orders—compared to 50% in April—while 39% expect no change, compared to 37% the previous month. On the down side, only 15% predict a decrease in orders—up from 13% in April.

More good news: 54% of participants reported that average daily shipping levels are above levels of three months ago—down from 61% in April—while 34% report no change, compared to 29% in April. Only 12% report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago.

“May’s business conditions report shows that 85% of PMA members expect new orders for May through July to either be higher than the past three months, or to remain flat, at fairly good levels,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “This confirms that the metalforming industry is well on its way toward a significant recovery, which began in the summer of 2009 after a two-year slide. Also, data from PMA’s monthly orders and shipments report show conditions in the industry are improving, with new orders rising above the 12-month rolling average for the past nine months and shipments above the 12-month rolling average for the last eight months. In addition, data from the 100 companies in the survey’s control group indicate that orders grew in the first quarter by 50% compared to the first quarter of 2009 and shipments increased by 35% during the same period.”

The full May Precision Metalforming Report is available online.