Press Room

Press Room

Business Conditions Report: January 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano


CLEVELAND, OH—January 22, 2018—Metalforming manufacturing companies anticipate a continued uptick in business conditions during the next three months, according to the January 2018 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report.  Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 123 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The January report shows that 58% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from 48% in December).  Another 40% expect no change (compared to 47% the previous month) and only 2% believe that economic activity will decline (down from 5% in December).

“Manufacturers continue to feel optimistic at the start of the new year,” said PMA President Roy Hardy.  “Metalfoming companies believe that revisions to the U.S. tax code passed by Congress in December may incentivize domestic manufacturing, putting them in a better position to make investments in their businesses and compete in the global market.  Small and medium-sized manufacturers who invest heavily in equipment in particular will stand to benefit from many of the bill’s provisions.”

Metalforming companies also anticipate a rise in incoming orders during the next three months, with 59% predicting an increase in orders (up from 55% in December), 36% expecting no change (the same percentage reported last month), and only 5% forecasting a decrease in orders (down from 9% in December).

Current average daily shipping levels increased in January.  Thirty-four percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the levels of three months ago (compared to 29% in December), 49% report that levels are the same (down from 52% the previous month), and 17% report a decrease in shipping levels (down from 19% in December).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dipped to 4% in January, from 5% in December.  This figure is much better than during January 2017, when 10% of companies reported workers on short time or layoff. 

The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by PMA since 1979.  Full report results are available at http://www.pma.org/public/business_reports/pdf/BCREP.pdf.  PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $137-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 800 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry.  PMA leads companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming, Fabricating Product News and 3D Metal Printing magazines.