Metalformers Continue to Experience Supply Shortages and Other Challenges

PMA's November Business Conditions Report shows member activity is strong but challenges with sourcing raw materials continue to plague many.

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©Andrey Armyagov –

Metalforming companies anticipate little change in business conditions during the next 3 months, according to the November 2021 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 105 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

PMA’s November report shows that 55% of metalforming companies predict no change in general economic activity in the next three months (increasing from 48% in October), 25% forecast an increase in activity (compared to 27% in October) and 20% expect a decrease in activity (compared to 25% last month).

Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported an increase in lead times, compared to 58% in October.

PMA members are experiencing brisk business activity but continue to face challenges sourcing needed raw materials,” said PMA President David Klotz. “PMA is concerned with the continued steel supply shortages, which will now only be exacerbated with the new infrastructure bill signed into law earlier this month. In addition, we are concerned that the deal reached this month between the United States and European Union that replaces the Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs with a tariff-rate quota could lead to market manipulation and allow for gaming of the system that could put our members and other small and medium-sized manufacturers at a disadvantage. Our team in Washington, D.C., will continue to advocate for the termination of these unnecessary and damaging trade restrictions on steel and aluminum.”

Metalformers expect a slight dip in incoming orders in the next three months, with 31% forecasting a decrease in orders (compared to 25% in October), 36% predicting no change (compared to 43% last month) and 33% anticipating an increase in orders (compared to 32% in October).

Current average daily shipping levels rose in November, with 49% of survey respondents reporting an increase (compared to 41% in October), 31% reporting no change (compared to 32% last month) and 20% reporting a decrease (compared to 27% in October).

Four percent of responding metalforming companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in November, the same percentage reported the previous 2 months.