Other highlights of the June 2011 Precision Metalforming Association Business Conditions Report: 25% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months—which is up from 23% in May—with 25% reporting that activity will decline in the short term, up from 22% in May.

With specific respect to incoming orders, 30% predicting an increase over the next three months—up from 26% in May—while 44% anticipate no change, compared to 47% last month. Only 26% predicting a decrease in orders—down from 27% in May.

Another bright spot: 32% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, with 42% reporting no change compared to three months ago. Only 26% reported a decrease in shipping levels during the period.

According to William E. Gaskin, PMA president, it’s important to keep everything in perspective. “On average, orders and shipments for the first four months of 2011 rose 15% compared to 2010 for the same period,” he said. “However, April’s year-to-date orders and shipments reflected a sharp 15% decline in April compared to March, or growth would have been substantially stronger.”

Gaskin attributes the decline to softening industrial and consumer demand and supply chain interruptions in the automotive industry originating from the earthquake in Japan. He also noted that the flat outlook for the summer months reflected caution over the strength of the economic recovery.

The complete May 2011 Precision Metalforming Business Conditions Report is available online.