CLEVELAND, OH—According to the February 2013 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a spike in business conditions during the next three months.  Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 131 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The February report shows that 37% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up from 32% in January), 55% believe that activity will remain unchanged (up from 50% last month) and only 8% anticipate that activity will decline (down significantly from 18% in January).

Metalforming companies also expect incoming orders to strengthen during the next three months, with 50% forecasting an increase in orders (up from 44% in January), 39% expecting no change (compared to 31% last month) and 11% predicting a decrease in orders (down from 25% in January).

Average daily shipping levels rose significantly February.  Forty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 21% in January), 37% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 38% in January), and 23% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 41% in January).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 19% in February, up from 15% in January.  The February figure is higher than it was one year ago when metalformers reported only 7% of workers on short time or layoff.  

“Data in this month’s report anticipating an improvement in orders and shipments have been echoed by participants in recent executive roundtables held in Connecticut, Massachusetts and California over the past few weeks,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president.  “A more positive outlook for the balance of 2013’s Q-1 is a welcome improvement compared to the soft 2012 Q-4 experienced by most metalforming companies.  The Institute for Supply Management’s PM report, which includes the metalforming industry, also has recently trended upward.  Growth is expected to be modest but should continue throughout the spring unless a lack of leadership in Washington, D.C. leads to an economic shock resulting from sequestration or other issues.”