Business Conditions Report: March 2011

According to the March 2011 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies anticipate steady business conditions during the next three months.  Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 111 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The March report shows that 49% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (compared to 51% in February), 46% predict that activity will remain unchanged (up from 44% last month) and only 5% report that activity will decline (the same percentage reported in February).

Average daily shipping levels remained virtually unchanged in March.  Fifty percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from 48% in February), 39% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (up from 37% last month), and 11% report a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 15% in February).

Metalforming companies anticipate solid levels for incoming orders over the next three months, although 52% of participants predict an increase in orders (down from 61% in February).  However, 38% anticipate no change (compared to 31% last month) and only 10% predict a decrease in orders (up from 8% in February).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff decreased to 12% in March from 13% in February.  The number is significantly lower than one year ago, when 42% reported employees on short time or layoff.

“Results of the March Business Conditions Report are quite positive and consistent with results from PMA’s Monthly Orders and Shipments Survey for January, which reported a month-over-month increase of 18 percent in orders booked and a 15 percent increase in shipments in January, after a seasonal dip in November and December 2010,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president.  “Orders and shipments of PMA member companies surged back above their 12-month rolling averages in January.  The metalforming industry continues to experience growth in many market areas, with agriculture/off-highway, automotive, defense, medical products and aerospace being among the strongest sectors.”

The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979.  Full report results are available at  PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $113-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming and roll forming technologies, and other value-added processes.  Its nearly 1,000 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry.  PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM tradeshows, and MetalForming magazine.

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