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American Mold Builders business forecast “definitely optimistic”

Signs of growing optimism can be detected among American moldmakers over the past several months, according to the Spring 2008 business forecast survey conducted by the American Mold Builders Associat...


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May 1, 2008 by Canadian Plastics



Signs of growing optimism can be detected among American moldmakers over the past several months, according to the Spring 2008 business forecast survey conducted by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA).

Of the participants in the survey, 12% described business as excellent, compared to 10% of the respondents in the Spring 2007 survey.

Current business conditions are fair for 38% of the respondents compared to 35% in the same quarter in 2007. Poor business conditions were reported by 6% of the respondents, a significant improvement over the 20% who reported poor conditions in the Spring 2007 survey. Only 2% described conditions as bad in the Spring 2008 survey, up slightly from 1% last year.

Projections of business over the next three months show improvement, as well, with 10% expecting business to increase substantially, which is double the 5% of the respondents from the AMBA’s Winter 2008 survey, conducted three months ago. And 30% expect business to increase moderately, compared to 33% in the Winter survey.

The majority of respondents — 46% — project that business will remain the same over the next three months, while 12% expect it to decrease moderately. Only 2% expect business to decrease substantially.

When comparing their quoting in this quarter with that of the Winter 2008 survey, 28% said that activity is up; 51% said it remains the same, and 21% reported a drop in quoting.

Profits are up for 21% of respondents, unchanged from previously for 50%, and down for 29%; this reflects a real improvement compared to the Winter 2008 survey, the AMBA said, when 11% reported profits were up.

Employment also seems to be increasing, with the average number of shop employees jumping from 23 in the Winter 2008 survey to 26 in the spring. Design and engineering employees also jumped from an average of five in the Winter 2008 survey to seven in spring 2008. Average work-week hours for shop employees was 46, which is unchanged from the Winter 2008 survey; work-week hours for design and engineering employees was also 46, again the same as last quarter’s survey.

“Some companies participating in the Spring survey continue to be very busy, while others are looking into a dark tunnel,” the AMBA concluded. “In spite of that, some definite optimism can be detected in this quarter’s survey.”

Founded in 1973, the Roselle, Ill.-based AMBA is the only industry trade group in the U. S. dedicated solely to the country’s mold manufacturing industry. The organization’s website is www.amba.org.