FMA initiates unique survey to assess ongoing health of metal fabricating sector of economy

August 5, 2013

Small to mid-sized companies comprise most of American manufacturing. In the metal fabricating sector the health of this business segment predicts what is happening in the industry as a whole. For the first time, these smaller job shops and contract manufacturers are being queried on a quarterly basis and the resulting report—the Forming & Fabricating Job Shop Consumption Report—is being distributed through the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA). The inaugural report is available now.

The survey is designed to assess operating capacity, new order activity, employment, commodity pricing trends, logistics costs, planned capital equipment purchases, and general business outlook. Small companies are very sensitive to changes in the status of their customers. Many of the 280 metal fabricating companies that responded to this inaugural survey, which was distributed to more than 17,000 top ranking industry executives, make parts or provide assemblies for companies in the automotive, aerospace, medical equipment and heavy equipment industries.

The results of the survey are interpreted by FMA's economic analyst, Dr. Chris Kuehl, founding partner of Armada Corporate Intelligence and author of Fabrinomics®, a biweekly economic analysis e-newsletter for members of the FMA. Kuehl's commentary is included with the survey results and as time progresses he will be evaluating trends that emerge. "The first report simply lays groundwork for the successive quarterly reports," said Kuehl. "At the moment, we see an industry that is stable with slight growth indicated. Capacity is running about 15 percent under the national average, which means there is plenty of room for growth.

The Forming & Fabricating Job Shop Consumption Report for the second quarter of 2013 can be found at The report is distributed free as a service to professionals in the metal forming and fabricating industry.

About FMA

Based in Rockford, Ill., FMA is a professional organization with nearly 2,500 members working together to improve the metal processing, forming, and fabricating industry. Founded in 1970, FMA brings metal fabricators and fabricating equipment manufacturers together through technology councils, educational programs, networking events, and the FABTECH® tradeshow. FMA also has two technology affiliates, the Tube & Pipe Association, Intl. (TPA), which focuses on the unique needs of companies engaged in tube and pipe producing and fabricating; and Green Manufacturer Network, a professional organization of individual members dedicated to working toward environmentally friendly manufacturing.