The October report, whose sampling is based on 149 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada, shows that metalformers are less optimistic about general economic activity during the next three months. Just 30% of participants anticipate an improvement in overall economic activity, down from 47% in September;, 54% expect that activity will remain unchanged, compared to 42% last month; and 16% report that activity will decline (compared to 11% in September).

Other highlights: The %age of metalforming companies forecasting a decrease in incoming orders during the next three months rose from 14% in September to 22% in October. Increased orders were forecast by 38%, down from 51% in September; and 40% expect no change, up from 35% the previous month.

Some good news: current average daily shipping levels remained steady in October. Fifty-four % of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, compared to 53% in September; 31% report no change, up from 30% in September; and 15% report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago, down from 17% reported last month.

“While metalforming companies have generally experienced a significant rebound in orders and shipments over the past few months, there is real concern about whether the rebound has staying power,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Many believe that the current uptick is primarily inventory restocking and that without a more robust recovery of consumer spending and capital investment, their increased orders will disappear later this year and during the first quarter of 2010. However, 78% of PMA members expect new orders through year-end to be the same as, or higher than, for the past three months. The outlook is much more robust than it was one year ago, when the majority were seeing new orders drop precipitously.”

The full October report is available online.