Metal Forming Companies Expect Stable Conditions

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Metal forming companies continue to anticipate stable business conditions for the first few months of 2024 and are expressing more optimism about business activity month-over-month, according to the January 2024 Precision Metalforming Association Business Conditions Report. 

PMA’s recent monthly report provides an economic indicator for the next three months of manufacturing, sampling 121 metal forming companies in the United States and Canada.

PMA’s January report shows that 60% of metal forming companies expect no change in general economic activity in the next three months, compared with 57% in December. Another 20% anticipate an increase in activity, up from 13% last month, and 20% predict a decrease in activity, dropping from 30% in December.

Metal formers also forecast an uptick in incoming orders, with 34% of survey respondents expecting an increase in orders during the next three months, up from 29% in December. An additional 45% predict no change in orders, compared with 41% in December, and 21% anticipate a decrease in orders, declining from 30% in December.

Current average daily shipping levels remained steady in January, with 44% reporting no change in shipping levels, compared with 43% in December, and 40% reporting a decrease in levels, down from 43% last month. Another 16% report an increase in shipping levels, compared with 14% in December.

“PMA members are expressing confidence that their businesses will continue to experience stable conditions in the first quarter of 2024,” said PMA President David Klotz. “In fact, the January Business Conditions Report shows the highest percentage of respondents predicting steady or increased economic activity since April 2022.”

He said Congress can help the manufacturing sector grow further by quickly passing the bicameral tax framework announced Jan. 16 by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith of Missouri and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden of Oregon. 

“The framework reinstates several important tax provisions that PMA has long advocated for to boost U.S. manufacturing, including reinstating R&D expensing retroactive to Jan. 1, 2022, and 100% full expensing (bonus depreciation) retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023,” Klotz said.

Seven percent of metal forming companies reported an increase in lead times in January, the same percentage reported in December. Six percent of companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in January, compared with 7% in December, while 37% of companies are expanding their workforce, the same percentage reported in December.

The full report can be viewed HERE.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.