Companies within the metalforming industry are optimistic about business conditions at the start of 2024 according to the January Precision Metalforming Association's (PMA) Business Conditions Report.
Per the association, many companies anticipate stable business conditions during the first 3 months of the year and are generally optimistic about business activity on a month-over-month basis.
The PMA report shows 60% of metalforming companies expect no change in general economic activity in the next 3 months (compared to 57% in December), while 20% anticipate an increase in activity (up from 13% last month). Another 20% of companies are predicting a decrease in activity (dropping from 30% in December).
Over the next 3 months, 34% of metalformers are also forecasting an increase in orders. However, 45% do not expect a change in order activity which is up slighlty from December's predictions and 21% foresee orders declining in the first quarter.
PMA reports that daily shipping levels have remained steady in January with most metalforming companies split between seeing no change (44%) and a decrease in shipping (40%) during the month. Just 16% of companies said shipping levels have increased which is up from the 14% who said the same in December 2023.
"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 the association's press release announcing the release of its January report. "In fact, the January Business Conditions Report shows the highest percentage of respondents predicting steady or increased economic activity since April 2022."
This positive outlook should benefit the fluid power industry as well, particularly the pneumatics segment, as metalworking tools and machines are an important customer market.
PMA, the trade association representing the North American metalforming industry, compiles its Business Conditions Report each month to provide an economic indicator for the next 3 months of manufacturing based on insight from 121 metalforming companies in the U.S. and Canada.