Report says metal formers continue to predict consistent economic activity

Metal forming companies’ predictions for business conditions were nearly unchanged from the previous month, with a majority of companies predicting no change in general economic activity in the coming months, according to the July 2023 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for the next three months of manufacturing, sampling 116 metal forming companies in the U.S. and Canada.

The July report shows that 55% of metal forming companies expect no change in general economic activity in the next three months (compared to 58% in June), 34% predict a decrease in activity (compared to 32% in June), and 11% forecast an increase in activity (compared to 10% last month).

There also was little change in metal formers’ anticipation of incoming orders, with 18% of survey respondents expecting an increase in orders during the next three months (compared to 20% in June), 46% predicting no change (compared to 44% last month), and 36% forecasting a decrease in orders (the same percentage reported in June).

Following a rebound in current average daily shipping levels last month, shipping levels dipped in July. Only 19% of responding companies reported an increase in shipping levels (down from 27% in June), 53% reported no change (compared to 52% last month), and 28% reported a decrease (up from 21% in June).

Lead times decreased for the third straight month in July, with 7% of metal forming companies reporting an increase in lead times (compared to 10% in June). Only 5% of companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in July (down from 10% in June), while 42% of companies are currently expanding their workforce (compared to 46% last month).