Nuttawut Uttamaharad |

Metalformers Face Longer Lead Times, Material Shortages

July 28, 2021
Lead times for steel are extending into midyear 2022.

Metalforming companies anticipate little change in business conditions during the next three months, according to the July 2021 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report. 

PMA’s July report shows that 36% of metalforming companies forecast an improvement in economic activity in the next three months (the same percentage as reported in June), 55% predict no change (compared to 52% last month) and 9% anticipate a decline in activity (decreasing from 12% in June).

Sixty-three percent of respondents reported an increase in lead times, slightly down from 66% in June.

“PMA members continue to report significant problems in finding the raw materials needed to meet demand,”  PMA President David Klotz said in a statement. “As we have been reporting, members are telling us that their lead times are extending into midyear of 2022 for steel, with similar challenges for aluminum, copper, brass and other metals. Combined with continued difficulty in finding workers and the semiconductor shortage that has idled some auto plants, our members are facing a challenging environment. PMA, through its One Voice advocacy team in Washington, D.C., continues to press the Biden Administration to end the damaging Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs to help increase supply, and to help the industry recruit workers by promoting awareness and training.”

Current average daily shipping levels remained steady in July, with 45% reporting an increase (compared to 43% in June), 38% reporting no change (decreasing from 39% last month) and 17% reporting a decrease (compared to 18% in June).

The survey revealed an expectation for a slight uptick in incoming orders in the next three months, with 42% forecasting an increase in orders (compared to 38% in June), 45% predicting no change (increasing from 44% last month) and 13% anticipating a decrease in orders (compared to 18% in June).

Five percent of responding metalforming companies had a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff in July, compared to 4% in June.

Full report results are available at Prepared monthly, the report provides an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 124 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

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