Metalforming companies expect a slight improvement in business conditions during the next three months. That's according to the December 2012 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. 1

Following are a few highlights from the December 2012 report:
  • 22% of participants believe that economic activity will improve during the next three months--up from 19% in November
  • 49% predict that activity will remain unchanged, up from 45% last month.
  • 29% expect activity to decline, down from 36% in November.
  • 33% of respondents anticipate an increase in new orders, up from 28% in November, while 39% expect no change. Lastly, 28% predict a decrease in orders, down from 33% in November.
Looking at payrolss, PMA reports the percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff remained at 17% in December, the same number reported in November. The December figure is higher than it was one year ago when metalformers reported only 12% of workers on short time or layoff.
“There is significant uncertainty in the manufacturing sector being caused by the looming fiscal cliff in areas such as personal/corporate tax rates, availability of the R&D Investment Tax Credit and depreciation rules for investment in new equipment,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “The average PMA member company has experienced 6% growth in orders and shipments for the first 11 months of 2012 vs. 2011, so most have had an OK year and should be poised to continue investing. However, uncertainty about how the President and Congress will resolve the tax and spending issues that stand in the way of continued economic recovery has them far more pessimistic than they were at this time last year." 

The complete December 2012 PMA report is available online.

  1. Conducted monthly, the PMA report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 126 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.