CLEVELAND, OH—According to the January 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 January report shows that 32% of participants believe that economic activity will improve during the next three months (up significantly from 22% in December), 50% predict that activity will remain unchanged (up from 49% last month) and only 18% anticipate that activity will decline (down from 29% in December).

Metalforming companies also expect incoming orders to strengthen during the next three months, with 44% forecasting an increase in orders (up from 33% in December), 31% expecting no change (compared to 39% last month) and 25% predicting a decrease in orders (down from 28% in December).

Average daily shipping levels dipped slightly in January.  Twenty-one percent of participants report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (down from 27% in December), 38% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago (compared to 30% in December), and 41% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 43% in December).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 15% in January, down from 17% in December.  The January figure is higher than it was one year ago when metalformers reported only 12% of workers on short time or layoff.

“The January uptick in the ISM manufacturing index into the “growth” range, continued expectations of modest growth in the automotive sector for 2013, along with a strengthening housing/construction market support the modest optimism expressed by PMA member companies in the January Business Conditions Report,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president.  “PMA member companies were somewhat more optimistic one year ago about the outlook for business conditions than they are today (reflecting soft orders and shipments in Q-4 2012).  However, growth in the automotive market is expected to continue and homebuilding/commercial construction is starting to show signs of recovery.  PMA members seem to support modest growth in GDP in 2013, perhaps in the 4 to 6% range.”

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 900 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, MetalForming magazine and Fabricating Product News.