The 2013 April PMA Business Conditions report shows that only 28% of participants predict that economic activity will improve during the next three months, down from 36% in March, while 16% anticipate that activity will decline--up from just 6% in March. Fifty-six percent of respondents believe activity will remain unchanged, down from 58% last month.
Other survey results:
37% of metalformers surveyed forecast an increase in orders, down from 46% in March, while 21% predict a decrease in orders, up from 11% in March; 42% expect no change.
With respect to average daily shipping levels, 34% of participants said activity is above levels seen three months ago, while 44% report that shipping levels are the same as three months ago; 22% report a decrease in shipping levels, down from 16% in March.
On the employment front, the percentage of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 14% in April, up from 11% in March. The April figure is higher than it was one year ago when only 9% of metalformers reported workers on short time or layoff.
“While fabricated metal products was one of the 12 economic sectors that continued to show growth in the March ISM Manufacturing Index, PMA members reflect a less robust outlook for the second quarter of 2013,” said William E. Gaskin, PMA president. “In spite of firming March housing starts--in excess of 1.1 million, the highest level since June 2008--and continued solid performance of the automotive sector, expectations for soft orders and shipments persisted in PMA’s April Business Conditions Report.”
Full report results are available online.