CLEVELAND–One-third of manufacturers in the metal-forming industry expected economic activity to increase during the first quarter of 2003.

According to the Precision Metal-forming Association’s Business Conditions Report, 54% of metal-forming companies anticipated that economic conditions would remain the same, and only 13% thought economic activity would decrease. The data reflect the most positive outlook in this industry in six months.

This optimism was also apparent when metal-formers were asked what expectations they had for incoming orders. The majority, 45%, predicted that orders would increase during the next three months, while only 11% expected them to decrease.

These numbers represent a dramatic turnaround from last year. In October 2002, for example, only 22% of metal-formers expected an increase in incoming orders.