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U.S. moldmaking work held “steady” over the summer: survey

Business among members of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) isn't exactly booming, but work is holding steady, according to the organization's Summer 2011 Business Forecast Survey.


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September 23, 2011 by Canadian Plastics

Business among members of the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) isn’t exactly booming, but work is holding steady, according to the organization’s Summer 2011 Business Forecast Survey.

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents reported business conditions as either “Good” or “Excellent”, up slightly from the Spring survey. Projections of their company’s business over the next three months have the majority of respondents saying that they will either “Increase Moderately” (38%) or “Remain the Same” (47%). “This indicates that work continues to flow in the U.S. mold manufacturing business,” the AMBA said.

Comparing their company’s different business activities, quoting is up (31%) or the same (49%) for the respondents; shipments were up considerably for 48% of the respondents to the Summer survey, compared to 37% in the Spring survey.

Employment figures continue to yo-yo, however, falling for 28% of the respondents and remaining the same for 64%, which appears to indicate that hiring has slowed. The average number of shop employees was 22 in the Summer survey, down from 25 in the Spring survey, but back to the same number as the Winter survey.

Design and engineering employees also dropped by one to four, down from five in the Spring survey. Work-week hours ticked up by one hour from the Spring survey, however, for both shop employees (49 hours in the Summer survey) and for design and engineering employees, 48 in the Summer survey compared to 47 in the Spring survey.

The AMBA survey also asked about payment terms: the majority of respondents – 72% – get paid in 60 days, and 25% get paid in 30 days.

Also, a majority of respondents (65%) said that customers are “moderately looking for off-shore suppliers” or customers “are open to the idea but not actively looking for off-shore suppliers.” “The good news is that 31% reported that ‘customers are relocating work from off-shore back to U.S. suppliers'”, AMBA said.

Headquartered in Rolling Meadows, Ill., the AMBA represents nearly 300 member companies comprised of approximately 9,000 employees and representing just over US$2 billion in annual tooling sales. Members span 31 U.S. states with 12 chapter affiliations.