Metalforming companies surveyed expect a slight uptick in business conditions during the next three months--a somewhat more optimistic outlook than the previous report. That's according to theJuly 2012 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, released earlier this week.

Following are a few key findings from the report:

  • 19% of participants anticipate economic activity will improve during the next three months--up from 11% in June--while 45% predict that activity will remain unchanged, down from 57% last month. Still, 36% report that activity will decline, up slightly compared to June.
  • With respecto incoming orders, metalforming companies surveyed also forecast a slight increase in over the next three months, with 26% anticipating an increase in orders--up from 15% in June. Meanwhile, 40% of respondents expect no change (down from 52% in June) and 34% predict a decrease in orders.
  • In the category of average daily shipping levels, 26 percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the activity seen three months ago (down from 31% in June), while 43% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 39% last month). Still, nearly one-third report a decrease in shipping levels.
  • Some positive news on the labor front: The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff decreased to 12% in July, down from 14% in June. The July figure remains more positive than one year ago when 18% of metalformers reported workers on short time or layoff.

“While there is a growing level of uncertainty among many in the metalforming industry, business conditions remain generally positive, with approximately 70 percent reporting orders and shipments will be the same or higher for the period ahead,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Economic uncertainties in Europe, slower growth in Asia and political gridlock in the United States are not positive indicators. However, PMA’s member companies have experienced 11 percent growth in orders and 10 percent higher shipments for the first half of 2012. There continues to be strong demand for hiring skilled workers, which are in short supply in most areas of the country."  

The full July PMA Monthly Business Conditions Report is available online.