The December Precision Metalforming Association report shows that metalformers forecast little change in general economic activity for the first quarter of 2010. Twenty-eight percent of participants expect an improvement in economic activity, up from 27% in November; 50% predict that activity will remain unchanged, compared to 48% last month; and 22% report that activity will decline—down from 25% in November.

Metalforming companies anticipate a slight uptick in incoming orders during the next three months. Increased orders are expected by 35%, up from 31% in November; 40% expect no change, compared to 38% the previous month; and 25% predict a decrease in orders—down from 31% in November.

“After three months where shipping levels for member companies have been increasing, the majority are experiencing a modest slowdown in December,” said Bill Gaskin, president of the Precision Metalforming Association. “Average orders and shipments of member companies were above the 12-month rolling average for two consecutive months, in September and October, and we anticipate that November’s results, when released on Dec. 21, will be above the trend line as well.”

According to Gaskin, it appears that December’s pullback is moderate. He described the outlook for incoming orders for the first quarter as “positive,” with 75% of his members expecting order books to grow or at least be constant.

“While the economic recovery in the metalforming industry is not robust, it is positive in most sectors,” Gaskin said.

The full November report is available from the Precision Metalforming Association.