The PMPA Business Trends Report for March 2013 looks quite similar to that of March 2012.

Q1 2013 virtually the same as Q1 March 2012
Q1 2013 virtually the same as Q1 March 2012

While our shipments in March 2013 weren’t quite as high as those in March 2012, for the quarter they are virtually identical at 123.33 for Q1 2013 vs. 124 for Q1 2012.

The 3 month moving average is once again above the 12 month moving average. ISM reported growth in PMI in March for manufacturing, New Orders and Production indexes. Fourteen of eighteen manufacturing industries, were reported up in March, though the Machinery market which we serve was down. Housing starts jumped 7% in March from February, to a SAAR of 1.036 million, this is up 47% over March 2012.

New construction dollars coming into the economy provide some market diversification for our shops as those new homes will need plumbing, electrical, HVAC, appliances, and the tradesmen building them will need new trucks and tools.

Macroeconomic indicators appear to be a mixed bag- as I write this Reuters is reporting slowing factory activity and increasing unemployment- but the increase in housing starts adds yet another market of demand for precision machined components.

Our industry data is telling me that this year is on a very similar track as it was last year.

What are you seeing in your numbers compared to last year?