The Precision Machined Products Association’s (PMPA) Business Trends Index (BTI) for May 2013 showed very little change from the previous month, suggesting a “steady as she goes” new normal for precision machined part sales.
The BTI of 125 ticked up one point from the March and April indices, and bested the May 2012 reading by 10 points. Although this stasis could be a sign that bigger industrial investment is needed to increase returns, PMPA noted that the three-month moving average was higher than the 12-month moving average for industry shipments.
According to the report, which relied on responses from 95 precision machine parts manufacturers, 81 percent of precision machine parts manufacturers felt sales would remain static for the next three months, a drop of 4 percent from April. Eighty-six percent of respondents expected lead times to remain the same, while 92 percent see employment increasing or staying the same in the next three months. Finally, 86 percent of respondents expect profitability to remain the same or improve in the next three months.
Respondents to the PMPA BTI were split on sales in May, with 48 logging sales declines against 47 reporting gains. PMPA noted that overall aggregate shipments remain high and positive–10 points higher than for the same period in 2012, suggesting that “the strength of shipments on a shop-by-shop basis seems highly uncertain – a flip of the coin.”