Business Conditions Report: January 2020

CLEVELAND, OH—January 28, 2020—Metalforming companies begin 2020 with optimism and expect an upswing in economic activity in the first quarter of 2020, according to the January 2020 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 110 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The January report showed that 32% of participants predict an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (an increase from 20% in December); 55% forecast no change in activity (compared to 54% last month); and only 13% anticipate a decline in activity (a decrease from 26% in December).

“Metalforming companies are beginning the year with some optimism that 2020 will bring improved conditions,” said PMA President David Klotz. “The approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and an easing of trade tensions with China are positive signs that 2020 will bring more stability. For many PMA members, the challenge of finding and training workers to fill job openings remains. That’s one reason we are seeing growing interest in METALFORM EDU, PMA’s online training source.”

Metalformers also expect a spike in incoming orders, with 43% forecasting an increase in orders during the next three months (compared to 26% in December); 45% anticipating no change in orders (compared to 53% in December); and 12% predicting a decrease in orders (a decline from 21% last month).

Current average daily shipping levels improved in January, with 16% of participants reporting higher levels than three months ago (increasing from 11% in December); 49% indicating no change in shipping levels (compared to 40% in December); and 35% reporting lower shipping levels than three months ago (decreasing from 49% in December).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in January dropped to 13%, down from 15% in December. At this time last year, only 8% of the participating 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 https://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 and 3D Metal Printing magazines.

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