Quality Magazine

Business Conditions Report: January 2014

February 1, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH — According to the January 2014 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect an upswing in business conditions during the next three months.  Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 117 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The January report shows that 46% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 41% in December), 47% anticipate that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 46% last month) and only 7% believe that economic activity will decline (down from 13% in December).

Metalforming companies also forecast a spike in incoming orders during the next three months, with 54% anticipating an increase in orders (up significantly from 43% in December), 41% expecting no change (compared to 43% in December) and five percent predicting a decrease in orders (compared to 14% in December).

Current average daily shipping levels also improved.  Thirty-five percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 31% in December), 45% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 43% last month), and 20% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 26% in December).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to six percent in January, down from nine percent in December.  The January 2014 figure is at its lowest level since June 2000 when metalformers reported only three percent of their workforce on short time or layoff. 

“PMA member companies are anticipating rising orders and shipments for Q-1 2014,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president.  “Metalforming companies averaged about five-percent growth in orders and two-percent growth in shipments during 2013, with shipments starting soft and improving in Q-2 and Q-3, with a flat Q-4.  This was opposite of the 2012 pattern, when companies had a strong first half and then drifted down, ending flat for the year.  Continued strong auto production and the general sense that fundamentals are improving somewhat indicate that growth in shipments by three to six percent are possible.”

The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979.  Full report results are available HERE