The report, an economic indicator for manufacturing, samples 155 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada.

Twenty-three percent of participants reported that business conditions will decline over the next three months (up from 18% in May), 58% believe conditions will remain the same (compared to 51% the previous month) and only 19% predict economic activity will increase (down from 31% in May).

"Business conditions in the metalforming industry are diverse at the present time," said William E. Gaskin, president of PMA. "Some of the concern over orders for the next three months is quite typical of the business cycle in the automotive market, with production in the summer months constrained by model changeovers, vacations, and maintenance shut-downs. However, many companies have reported a more-pervasive softness in the automotive market during the second quarter and there is concern that this will continue into the third quarter as well. Other markets, such as agriculture, heavy equipment, medical equipment, and others are reportedly quite strong with expectations for orders continuing at strong levels, consistent with the first five months of 2006."