Metalforming companies anticipate steady business conditions during the next three months.
According to the June 2011 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, 25% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from 23% in May), 50% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 55% last month) and 25% report that activity will decline (up from 22% in May).
Metalforming companies also expect little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 30% predicting an increase in orders (up from 26% in May), 44% anticipating no change (compared to 47% last month) and 26% predicting a decrease in orders (down from 27% in May).
Average daily shipping levels dipped slightly in June. Thirty-two percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 38% in May), 42% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (up from 37% last month), and 26% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 25% in May).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff remained unchanged from May to June, at 14%. However, the number is much lower than one year ago, when 27% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.
"On average, orders and shipments for the first four months of 2011 rose 15% compared to 2010 for the same period," said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. "However, April's year-to-date orders and shipments reflected a sharp 15% decline in April compared to March, or growth would have been substantially stronger." Gaskin attributes the decline to softening industrial and consumer demand and supply chain interruptions in the automotive industry originating from the earthquake in Japan. He also noted that the flat outlook for the summer months reflected caution over the strength of the economic recovery.