Metal Stamping Industry Projections for 2019

The metal stamping business is still strong, the labor pool is depleted, pressrooms are busier today than yesterday, and growth should continue in the year ahead. But be prepared for the unexpected and the transition into the new economy of metalworking.


As we look ahead to where we would like to be in 2019, we should first reflect on what happened last year and how it affected business, then examine our preparation for the unexpected in 2019 and beyond. For manufacturers, 2018 was a year of growth tethered by tariffs that were more damaging in rhetoric than in actual application. The year began with threats of trade wars that instantly hit our pocketbooks, well before any tariffs were enacted. Creating an even playing field did help bring work back to the United States and helped to keep our products on par with other global providers, but the bottom line is still the bottom line and its degree of success in the long strategy of the tariff game can only be told by time. For now, upfront cost increases have been passed down to the end user and overall balance has been restored until the next batch – which means any future forecast based on current status is out of our hands and we must prepare for every possible scenario:

  • Will tariffs cause more prices to increase or shift the advantage to another location?
  • When will the next recession hit?
  • How long will the next recession last?
  • Where am I going to find labor for all the new work?

These questions are endless and make building a long-term strategy difficult, especially alongside an ever-moving forecast. That said, shops can prepare for many things in different ways to secure strength for the future. The economy is strong, the labor pool is depleted, pressrooms are busier today than yesterday, but talk still circles back to a looming recession. Even if economic experts are correct about a pending downturn, metal stampers should be in good shape for growth in 2019 – numbers are expected to be less than 2018, but still positive until a forecasted slowdown begins in 2020. In the meantime, a wave of new technology is coming before that recession unfolds, birthed by strong companies that embrace new challenges to create innovative solutions that meet manufacturing needs. In fact, much of the technology we can see happening in the coming years is already in front of us, just not yet mainstream in metal stamping.

Read full article in Fabricating & Metalworking

November 30, 2018