Among the highlights of the Precision Metalforming Association February report: 51% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months—up from 47% in January—while 44% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 43% last month). Meanwhile, only 5 percent report that activity will decline (down from 10% in January).

Metalforming companies also expect improvement in incoming orders for the next three months. In fact, 61 percent of participants predict an increase in orders (up from 52% in January), while 31% anticipate no change (compared to 36% last month). Only eight percent predict a decrease in orders (down from 12% in January).

“Metalforming companies continue to benefit from growth in the manufacturing sector, the strongest component of the slow but steady recovery that began some 18 months ago,” said William E. Gaskin, president of the Precision Metalforming Association. “Survey results demonstrating expectations for the general economy and for growth in orders are the most positive we have seen in several years.”

Gaskin notes that a few markets, such as construction, continue to underperform, but the outlook for the metalforming industry continues to improve. One cautionary note for the months ahead is substantial concern over higher costs for flat-rolled metals, which could impact supply-chain relationships and profitability for the metalforming industry, he added.

The full results of the Precision Metalforming Association’s February Business Conditions Report are available online.