Some highlights of the September Precision Metalforming Association report: 59% predict that activity will remain unchanged over the next three months—compared to 58% last month—while 22% of participants (down from 25% in August) anticipate an improvement over the short term. On the downside, 19% of metalformers surveyed said activity will decline over the next three months—up from 17% in August.

Regarding average daily shipping levels, 40 percent of participants report that average activity in September was above levels of those seen three months ago (up from 22% in August), with 39% report no change (compared to 41% in August). Only 21% report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago, down from 37% in August.

“After a very significant recovery in orders and shipments for the first eight months of 2010 compared to 2009, PMA’s manufacturing members are increasingly cautious as the end of the third quarter draws near,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “Based on information from the 100-company control group, which is a key component of PMA’s Monthly Orders & Shipments Survey, for the first eight months of 2010, the average control group company reported year-to-date 2010 orders and shipments that were up 50% and 42% compared with 2009 levels. Certainly, that level of recovery speaks to very poor business conditions in 2009. However, it also supports the leading role that manufacturing has taken in an otherwise soft economic recovery.”

The Precision Metalformers report, conducted monthly, consists of a sampling of 134 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. The full September report results are available online.