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Business increases for U.S. moldmakers: survey

For the third consecutive quarter an increasing number of U.S. moldmakers reported good business conditions, accord...


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February 11, 2008 by Canadian Plastics

For the third consecutive quarter an increasing number of U.S. moldmakers reported good business conditions, according to the results of a new survey.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents to the Winter Business Forecast Survey, conducted by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) reported good business conditions, compared to 46 per cent in the Fall survey.

According to the AMBA, numbers have increased in this category by just over 12 per cent over the past three quarters.

Responses from 41 per cent of the AMBA member companies reveals that business in the industry continues to reflect mostly good but still rather flat, business conditions. Current business conditions are Excellent for 12 per cent of respondents, down once again from both the Summer (15 per cent) survey and the Fall survey (13 per cent).

“Current business conditions saw a bit of an up tickaccording the Winter survey,” the AMBA concluded. “Only three per cent of respondents reported poor current business conditions, a nice drop in this category from nine per cent reporting poor conditions in the Fall survey.”

Only one respondent reported bad current business conditions, the same as the Fall survey.

According to the survey, employment remains the same for 75 per cent of the respondents, with the average number of shop employees at 23 (down 1 employee from Fall) and design and engineering employees continuing to average five. Work week hours for shop employees averaged 47, and for design and engineering employees, workweek hours averaged 46. Employment was up for 12 per cent of the respondents to the Winter survey (compared to 21 per cent in the Fall) and down for 14 per cent, compared to 16 per cent in the Fall.

Shipments are up for 27 per cent of the respondents to the Winter survey, compared to 36 per cent of respondents in the Fall a drop that could indicate that many jobs due by year-end were shipped in the Fall quarter, leaving fewer jobs left over from 2007 yet to be shipped, according the AMBA. “Shipments are the same for 56 per cent (compared to 36 per cent in the Fall survey) and down for 17 per cent, same as 17 per cent in the Fall survey,” the AMBA reported. “With shipments remaining the same for over half the respondents, it could indicate that most shops are relatively busy with new programs and new tooling funds being released by major OEMs.”

Founded in 1973, the AMBA is the only industry trade group in the U.S. dedicated to the country’s mold manufacturing industry.