The January Precision Metalforming Association report shows that 45% of participants expect an improvement in economic activity during the next three months—a jump from 28% in December—while 45% predict that activity will remain unchanged, compared to 50% last month. Only 10% report that activity will decline, which is down from 22% in December.

A majority of metalforming companies also anticipate an uptick in incoming orders during the next three months. Increased orders are expected by 52%, up from 35% in December, while 38% expect no change, compared to 40% the previous month. Only 10% predict a decrease in orders—down from 25% in December.

Expectations for current average daily shipping levels remained fairly steady in January, with more than half of responding companies indicating that expectations for shipments remained the same. Thirty-three percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, which down from 37% in December, while 53% report no change, compared to 36% in December. Fourteen percent of respondents reported that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago, down from 27% in December.

“PMA members continue to report that business conditions are improving, and the January report reinforces their optimism for increased orders and shipments in the months ahead,” said William E. Gaskin, president of the Precision Metalforming Association.

Beginning in mid-summer, Gaskin noted, the order books of PMA member companies began to grow, with orders and shipments rising above their respective 12-month rolling averages in September through November—the most recent month for which PMA has data. Furthermore, January’s numbers for orders, with 52% expecting increases and only 10% anticipating decreases, is the most positive report in several years.

“Most metalforming companies have reduced their costs dramatically and are beginning to return to profitability,” Gaskin said.

View the full January Precision Metalforming report online.