The Witch of November came early to the Precision Machined Products industry as our Business Trends Sales Index dropped 21 points from June to July. the July figure of 108 is the Average for November for the past 4 years, hence the Gordon Lightfoot lyric.
With 82 companies responding, the PMPA Business Trends Index in July 2016 dropped 21 points from 129 to 108, the second largest drop we can recall. (It fell from 131 to 109 a drop of 22 points from October to November 2014.) That 108 value just happens to be the Average Index Value for November for the past four years, and is far below any of the past four years’ July values, which averaged ten points higher at 118. Over sixty percent of this month’s respondents reported double-digit sales declines from June to July.
We are reminded of Gordon Lightfoot’s verses about “the witch of November coming early,” as the “sales bell rang ‘21 times’” – once for each lost point of sales index lost compared to June. Last month’s report showed pessimistic outlook for sales, and with this July report that came to pass. While this level of volatility is striking, our shops continue to manage this well.
Silver Lining Department: Outlook for Employment prospects in July remained level with 64 respondents (79%) expecting prospects to remain level; seven (9%) expecting them to decline, and ten (12%) expecting an increase. The fact is that 91% of shops expect employment prospects to remain the same or increase in our shops.