April 2012 Metalforming Report Shows Anticipated Dip in Business Conditions
The April report shows that 37% of participants expect economic activity to improve during the next three months (down from 46% in March), 51% predict that activity will remain unchanged (compared to 49% last month) and 12% report that activity will decline (up from 5% in March).
Metalforming companies also anticipate a downward trend in incoming orders during the next three months, with 43% forecasting an increase in orders (compared to 47% in March), 41% expecting no change (down from 47% in March) and 16% predicting a decrease in orders (up from only 6% last month).
Average daily shipping levels declined in April. Only 46% of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 53% in March), 41% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 37% last month), and 13% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 10% in March).
The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 9% in April, from 7% in March. However, this number is lower than April 2011, when metalformers reported 11% of their workforce on short time or layoff.
“The strength of PMA member expectations for the general economy and specifically for shipping levels and incoming orders for the next three months softened somewhat in the April PMA Business Conditions Report,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “However, expectations thus far in 2012 are significantly higher than expectations in all but the first quarter of 2011. Uncertainty over the strength of the economic recovery, the unsettled political situation brought on by election-year politics, and the increasing difficulty being experienced by many companies in hiring skilled workers, all are conspiring to soften what continues to be a very strong recovery in the metalforming sector. This recovery is consistent with the overall rebound in manufacturing that has been widely reported in the automotive, agriculture, off-highway, medical equipment and other sectors.”