Metal Users Say Conditions Stable, But Forecasts Cautious
Metalforming companies expect business conditions to hold fairly steady over the next three months, according to the August 2010 Business Conditions Report from the Precision Metalforming Association, Cleveland.
The August report shows that 25 percent of participants anticipate an improvement in economic activity during the next three months, up from 23 percent in July, while 58 percent predict that activity will remain unchanged. Only 17 percent project activity will decline, a slight dip from the 16 percent in July.
More than one-third of metalforming companies forecast increased orders for the next three months. Thirty-eight percent of participants expect an increase in orders, up from 29 percent in July, while 44 percent anticipate no change. Eighteen percent predict a decrease in orders, down from 20 percent in July.
In contrast, the percentage of companies reporting decreased shipping levels grew in August. Only 22 percent of participants report that average daily shipping levels are above levels of three months ago, down from 34 percent in July, and 41 percent report no change. The number of companies reporting shipping levels below those of three months ago increased from 12 percent in July to 37 percent in August.
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to 22 percent in August from 27 percent in July. This marks the lowest level since May 2008.
“Metalforming companies experienced strong increases in orders and shipments during the first half of 2010 from the very low levels of 2009,” says William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “While the typical company now has experienced 12 months of new orders and 11 months of shipments above their 12-month rolling average, PMA’s August report indicates a cautious outlook for shipments during the next several months.”