CLEVELAND, OH—September 18, 2019—According to the September 2019 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies forecast a downward trend in general economic activity during the next three months, while anticipating little change in incoming orders and shipping levels. Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 111 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The September report shows that only 17% of participants expect an improvement in economic activity during the next three months (a decrease from 27% in August); 53% forecast no change in activity (compared to 46% in August); and 30% anticipate a decline in activity (an increase from 27% last month).

“This month’s report mirrors other indices that show a slowdown in the manufacturing sector,” said PMA President David Klotz. “The decrease in confidence in the metalforming sector mirrors the dip in the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index, from 51.2% in July to 49.1% in August, the lowest reading since January 2016. For metalformers, tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are contributing to these concerns because of the disruption that they are creating, including loss of business. PMA continues to urge the termination of these tariffs to avoid further damage to our sector.”

Metalforming companies’ predictions for incoming orders remain similar to recent months, with 48% forecasting no change in orders (compared to 43% in August); 24% expecting an increase in orders (down from 28% in August); and 28% anticipating a decrease in orders (compared to 29% last month).

The September report also showed fairly steady daily shipping levels, with 47% of participants reporting that levels are the same compared to three months ago (increasing from 38% in August); 32% responding that shipping levels are lower (decreasing from 37% in August); and 21% reporting that shipping levels are higher than three months ago (a decline from 25% in August).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in September was 10%, the same percentage reported in August. At this time last year, only 3% 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 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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