Metal process

Metal Process Manufacturers Face Continuing Pressure

Process manufacturers working with metal and steel see little respite from increasing lead times, labor and supply shortages, recent survey by trade associations finds .

More than half of the 105 metal forming companies surveyed predicted little change in economic conditions until the end of the year, and a plurality predicted that the order amount would not change, although a slightly lower percentage. higher anticipates lower orders.

The Precision Metalforming Association’s latest survey, in addition to the forecast, also included a snapshot of conditions as of November 1. Two-thirds of those polled said shipping activity was up from a year ago, slightly less than last month, when 70% said shipping was up. compared to 2020. Almost 50% of businesses said daily shipping levels increased over the same time period.

The survey indicates that many metal formers, like other manufacturers, have struggled to lengthen delivery times and hire year round. In November, 59% of those surveyed reported longer delivery times than three months ago. The percentage of companies reporting that their delivery times are increasing has exceeded 50% since February of this year.

Upon hiring, a majority of steelworkers said they were looking to increase their workforce every month since December 2020. Just over 70% of those surveyed said they were looking to increase their ranks in November, or 3 points less than the previous month.

In a statement accompanying the report, PMA President David Klotz said members of trade associations were concerned about steel shortages, especially given recent government actions, in particular changing tariffs for steel and the recent infrastructure bill.

Steel shortages, Klotz said, “will now be exacerbated with the new infrastructure bill enacted earlier this month.”

Adding to previous criticisms of steel import tariffs, Klotz raised concerns about the tariff rate quota that replaced European steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year. The deal, Klotz warned, “could lead to market manipulation and allow system play that could put our members and other small and medium-sized manufacturers at a disadvantage.” He said the PMA would continue to advocate for the removal of trade restrictions.