Mixed Signals- Sales & Sentiment Recover, but Moving Averages Show Growth Slowing

August 30, 2019

“If slowing growth today means Sales 12% above the prior five years’ average sales for July, we’ll take it.”

With 80 companies reporting, the PMPA Business Trends Index for July 2019 recovered up 3 points or 2.3 percent to 132. While this 132 value is the second lowest value for the year, some context is in order. There were only 4 times where the index was higher than 132 prior to 2018. 132 is a 12.4 percent increase above the Average of July for the past five years, and 104 percent of July 2018 sales.

 

There are only 4 occurrences of the BT Index exceeding 132 prior to 2018. The July value of 132 is up 12.4% above the average for the past five Years of July. And 4X the Increase of Industrial Production reported by the FED.

We acknowledge that – the 3-month moving average of this sales index has dipped below the 12-month moving average- indicating that the pace of growth in our industry has slowed. At the same time all our forward looking sentiment indicators are Up. UP.  UP!

Opinions for the next three months compared to today:

  • Net Sales: Our companies’ outlook for the next three months is strongly positive for the next three months.
  • Lead Times: The outlook for Lead Times shows that respondents expect to be busy in the coming three months. Ninety percent of respondents expect lead times to remain the same or increase in the next three months. Positive for Sales.
  • Employment: Sixty percent (60%) of shops reported scheduling overtime in July. Prospects for employment are strongly positive with ninety-seven and a half percent (97.5%) expecting level or increased opportunities for employment.
  • Profitability: Overall sentiment for profitability shows respondents to be optimistic for the next three months, in line with all other sentiment indicator

2019 has been a very strong year for Sales. July’s recovery to 132, while not sufficient to keep the 3-month moving average above the 12-month moving average, is still a remarkable 12.4 percent increase for sales compared to the five year average of monthly sales for July.

Is sales growth slowing? That is what the 3- and 12- month moving averages are telling us. Are we at an enviable level of sales for such a slowdown? I would argue “Yes!” that the current July Sales index of 132 was only exceeded 4 times prior to 2018. Mixed signals appear quite positive to me for the next three months for our precision machining shops.

Advertisements