With 80 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index in March 2016 climbed 14 points or twelve per cent to 131, only the third time the index has been above 130 in its history.
This is surprising given that the FED’s Industrial Production (IP) index fell 0.6 percent in March. (The manufacturing component-ex mining and utilities- dropped 0.3 percent). The FED also reported manufacturing capacity utilization was lower, down from 75.4 percent to 75.1 percent, its lowest level in nearly two years.
PMPA members that participate in our monthly Business Trends Reporting also weigh in on 4 indicators of future sentiment- Outlook for the next three months for Sales, Lead Times, Employment, and Profitability.
Opinions for the next three months compared to today:
- Net Sales: The outlook for sales of precision machined products has declined to seventy-six percent (76%) of respondents expecting the level of sales to remain the same or increase over the next three months.
- Lead Times: Ninety-four percent (94%) of respondents expect Lead Times to remain the same or decrease.
- Employment: Eighty-seven percent of respondents expect employment prospects to increase or remain the same for the next three months, a positive assessment. Sentiment is unchanged from last month.
- Profitability: Prospects for profitability have moved to the positive, after a level three months.
The March 2016 PMPA Business Trends Report shows that our precision machining industry sales have turned positive. Lead Time sentiment shows we have the capacity to further grow sales which is supported by the fact that our hours of first shift scheduled are below last year’s calendar year average.