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Metalforming manufacturing Business Conditions Report: July 2017

 July 25, 2017 - Metalforming manufacturing companies anticipate steady business conditions during the next three months, according to the July 2017 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. Prepared monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 104 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

The July report shows that most participants predict no change in general economic activity during the next three months, with 34 percent of participants expecting an improvement in economic activity, 58 percent forecasting no change and 8% believing that economic activity will decline—the same numbers reported in June.

“Business conditions continue to look steady as we enter the second half of the year,” said PMA President Roy Hardy. “The majority of companies surveyed see continued or increased orders likely in the coming months, and the percentage of companies with workers on short time or layoff continues to average well below last year. The one red flag hovering overhead remains the potential for the Trump Administration to impose tariffs on imported steel via the Section 232 investigation. Metalformers will be adversely affected by significant cost increases to their most essential inputs if tariffs are imposed, handing a significant advantage to their overseas competitors. We urge the Administration to consider the downstream consequences of tariffs before they act.”

Most metalforming companies expect little change in incoming orders during the next three months, with 56 percent expecting no change in orders (compared to 60 percent in June), 33 percent anticipating an increase in orders (up from 30 percent in June) and 11 percent predicting a decrease in orders (up from 10 percent the previous month).

Current average daily shipping levels remained steady in July. Forty-four percent of participants report that shipping levels are above the levels of three months ago (compared to 47 percent in June), 43 percent report that levels are the same as three months ago (up from 41 percent the previous month), and 13 percent report a decrease in shipping levels (up from 12 percent in June).

The percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 5 percent in July, up from only 2 percent in June. That’s significantly better than July 2016, when 13 percent of companies reported workers on short time or layoff.

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