PMPA’s December 2016 Business Trends Review and Summary showed our Industry shipments declined about 3.3% year over year. The index fell to 117 (Just 0.6 below the trailing five year average!) but down from 2015’s 121.
That was last year. What does 2017 look like for our precision machining shops?

Sentiment for Sales up sharply for first three months of 2017.
Expectations for Sales of Precision Machined Products are  up sharply for first three months of 2017.

According to PMPA’s Business Trends Report: Net Sales outlook for precision machined products exploded in this month’s survey with fifty-four percent of respondents expecting sales to increase in the first three months of 2017, and thirty-eight percent  expect sales to remain level.  Ninety-two percent of our shop respondents expect sales to remain level or increase in the next three months. All other sentiment indicators were positive as well: Lead Time, Employment, and Profitability.
PMPA members get the Business Trends Report monthly to help them calibrate to sales, hours scheduled, and outlook for Sales, Lead Time, Employment and Profitability of their peers.
What indicators do you use to make sense of the market  each month?

The recovery of the precision machined products industry is  obvious in our latest PMPA Business Trends Report.

16 point gap between 3 month and 12 month moving average for sales!

 We have been  calling our new level of sales “The New Normal.”  While we have lost a decade in terms of sales volume, we are at sustainable levels of sales because of the lessons and adjustments that we made over the decade. The 16+ point gap between the 3 month moving average (97.3) and 12 month moving average (81) for sales makes a case for cautious optimism.
(OK, perhaps I am understating this a bit!)
Sales Index: down just 5 points to 100  from March 2010  value of 105.
Average Length of First Shift: 42.5 hours for April, compared to 38.1 for CY 2009. only 3 % of respondents report less than 40 hours.
Sentiment for the next three months:
Sales: 88% of respondents say Same or better.
Lead Times: 93% of respondents say same or longer. Shops are getting busy.
Employment: 99% of those reporting expect employment in their shop to remain the same or increase.
Profitability: 88% expect profitability to remain the same or improve over the next three months.
You can read the full report here: PMPA APRIL DATA.