The April PMA Business Conditions report—which is in line with the March 2010 survey—shows that 45% of participants expect an improvement in economic activity during the next three months, up slightly from 43% in March, while 45% predict that activity will remain unchanged, down from 52% last month. Only 10% of respondents reported that activity will decline over the next three months.

Metalforming companies also forecast continued positive momentum in incoming orders, with little change in orders during the next three months. According to the report, 50% of respondents anticipate an increase in orders, compared to 48% of respondents in March, whereas 37% expect no change, compared to 42% the previous month. Only 13% of metalformers predict a decrease in orders.

Other findings from the April PMA Business Conditions report: The percentage of members experiencing higher average daily shipping levels rose in April, marking the third straight month of increases. Specifically, 61% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, up from 54% in March, while 29% report no change, compared to 36% in March. Only 10% report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago.

“The positive and stable outlook reflected in PMA’s April Business Conditions Report indicates that the sharp increases in orders and shipments reported by members in our separate Monthly Orders and Shipments Report should continue through the second quarter,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Based on a control group of 100 metalforming companies, the average increase in orders is up approximately 50%, and shipments are up by approximately 30% in the first quarter of 2010 compared to year-ago levels. While orders and shipments are not yet approaching levels of 2008, business conditions have improved and likely will continue to improve for the next three months.”

The full April Business Conditions Report is available online.