Continuing supply chain issues are impacting business forecasts for metalformers. However, the recent FABTECH tradeshow was sold out and went into overflow space, with brisk sales activity reported, indicating increased manufacturing activity may near at hand. PHOTO courtesy BLM.
Metalforming companies forecast a downward trend in business conditions during the next three months, according to the November 2022 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report.
Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for the next three months of manufacturing, sampling 121 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.
PMA’s November report shows that 45% of metalforming companies anticipate a decrease in general economic activity in the next three months (compared to 35% in October), 50% expect no change in activity (the same percentage reported last month) and only 5% predict an increase in activity (compared to 15% in October).
The report also shows a dip in expectations for incoming orders, with 13% of survey respondents forecasting an increase in incoming orders during the next three months (compared to 18% in October), 44% predicting no change (compared to 43% last month) and 43% anticipating a decrease in orders (compared to 39% in October).
Current average daily shipping levels declined in November, with 32% of respondents reporting a decrease in shipping levels (compared to 23% in October), 47% reporting no change (compared to 50% last month) and only 21% percent reporting an increase (decreasing from 27% in October).
“PMA’s November report shows the largest percentage of metalforming companies surveyed predicting a decrease in economic activity and a decrease in incoming orders since May 2020,” said PMA President David Klotz. “The slowdown reflects the continuing supply-chain challenges that I am hearing about firsthand from members across the country. Manufacturers are having a difficult time obtaining the components they need, with lead times extending in some cases from more than six months to almost a year. Some sectors/industries also are being affected negatively by higher interest rates. However, the recent FABTECH tradeshow, one of the largest manufacturing shows in North America, was sold out and went into overflow space, with brisk sales activity reported, indicating that we may see increased manufacturing activity beginning the first quarter of 2023.”
Lead times continued to drop in November, with only 11% of metalforming companies reporting an increase in lead times (compared to 17% in October). Two percent of companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in November (compared to 4% in October), while 53% of companies are currently expanding their workforce (decreasing from 63% last month).
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 more than 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials and services to the industry.
More on OUTLOOK 2023