The July PMA Business Conditions Report shows that metalformers are feeling more optimistic about general economic activity than they have since April 2006. Specifically, 37% of participants predict an improvement in overall economic activity (up from 21% in June), 47% expect that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 58% last month), and 16% report that activity will decline (compared to 21% in June).

Metalforming companies also anticipate an improvement in incoming orders during the next three months. Nearly half surveyed (46%) predict an increase in orders (up from 29% in June), and 39% expect no change (down from 46% the previous month). Only 15% of companies forecast a decrease in orders (compared to 25% in June).

"PMA members are reporting that there are positive signs of stronger business conditions,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Customer markets such as automotive, truck, appliance, and construction are all still very soft, but the July data confirms that a bottom has been reached for many members and their expectations for the next three months are the most positive that we have seen in a year. Certainly the metalforming industry is not yet in full recovery, but this month’s data is hopefully the beginning of a positive trend.”