Metalformers Predict Little Change in Economic Activity

According to the December PMA Business Conditions Report, 49% of metalforming companies expect no change in economic activity in the next 3 months.

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Metalforming companies anticipate little change in business conditions during the next 3 months, according to the December 2020 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 111 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

PMA’s December report shows that 34% of metalforming companies expect an improvement in economic activity in the next 3 months (compared to 30% in November), 49% forecast no change (compared to 51% in November), and 17% anticipate a decline in activity (compared to 19% in November).

The survey also revealed that metalformers expect incoming orders to remain virtually unchanged in the next 3 months, with 41% forecasting an increase in orders (compared to 39% in November), 39% predicting no change (a decrease from 44% last month), and 20% anticipating a decrease in orders (compared to 17% in November).

“Metalforming manufacturers are showing resiliency during the COVID-19 pandemic, but finding workers continues to be a challenge despite the high unemployment rate,” said PMA President David Klotz. “In addition, members are experiencing supply chain problems that are causing low steel inventories as supply tightens. PMA is pleased that Congress has passed a COVID-relief package that includes many of our members’ priorities, including funding to allow small businesses to receive a second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, and allowing deductions of expenses paid with proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan. Congratulations to PMA’s One Voice for Manufacturing advocacy team for working diligently to ensure that provisions important to manufacturers were included in the bill.”

Current average daily shipping levels declined in December, with 41% experiencing an increase (down from 49% in November), 35% reporting no change (compared to 41% last month), and 24% reporting a decrease (an increase from 10% in November).

Only 14% of responding metalforming companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in December, a decrease from 15% in November. In December 2019, companies reported similar numbers, with 15% of their workforce on short time or layoff.