Press Room

Press Room

Business Conditions Report: August 2018

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

For more information, please contact Christie Carmigiano

CLEVELAND, OH—August 22, 2018—Metalforming companies anticipate an improvement in business conditions during the next three months, according to the August 2018 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 112 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The August report shows that 29% of participants forecast an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (up from 24% in July), 62% expect no change (compared to 53% last month), and only 9% anticipate a decline in activity (down from 23% in July).

“We continue to closely monitor members’ reports on steel and aluminum prices and lead times,” said PMA President Roy Hardy. “Metalforming companies continue to report higher steel prices and longer lead times as a result of the Section 232 steel tariffs, and express growing concern about lost business opportunities and the growing challenge of competing with European and Chinese companies who pay global (lower) prices for steel. Despite these concerns, our members are resilient and remain positive, as evidenced by their outlook for economic activity and incoming orders.”

Metalforming companies expect an upward trend in incoming orders during the next three months, with 37% predicting an increase in orders (up from 26% in July), 46% anticipating no change in orders (compared to 54% in July), and 17% forecasting a decrease in orders (down from 20% last month).

However, current average daily shipping levels continued to slip in August. Thirty-two percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the levels of three months ago (down from 41% in July), 44% report that levels are the same (compared to 41% the previous month), and 24% report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 18% in July).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff decreased to 4% in August, down from 6% in July. At this time last year, 3% 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 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 and 3D Metal Printing magazines.