SOFP Industry Opinion: Little Change in Industry Opinions

Not much change was seen in industry opinions with NFPA’s recent release of the October 2014 State of the Fluid Power Industry Survey (SOFP), an electronic opinion-based survey that is conducted amongst our manufacturer membership on a monthly basis. SOFP participants foresee a flat 4th quarter closing out a positive 2014 with increased growth in 2015.

In October, SOFP participants again agreed that our industry has grown this year compared to last, with a little under 60% of respondents pointing towards an increase. When asked what the next few months have in store, participants feel that our industry will remain flat (especially on the pneumatic side) with some very slight growth possible. It’s when you start asking SOFP participants about next year that much more positive opinions prevail, with over 60% of participants looking towards a positive year for the industry. Only around 30% believe there will be no change over the next year, while under 10% believe there will be a decline. However, there was a very slight dip in opinions of a positive 2015 for mobile hydraulics, with positive results slipping a bit below 60% and negative results moving above 10%. It may be time to check other mobile hydraulic indicators/outlooks to see if they are also moving in the same direction.

A slight dip in workforce plans from last month with 32% of participants planning to increase their workforce over the next 3 months, while backlog increased a bit more this month when compared to last month.

In the next article, we will examine the October 2014 results from NFPA’s Confidential Shipment Statistics (CSS) program, a monthly source of fluid power shipment and order data trends, to validate the SOFP results and our concerns with the slight shift in the mobile hydraulics outlook.

State of the Fluid Power Industry Survey

NFPA offers a variety of market reports and programs, but only one allows industry peers to express their opinion on the current and future state of our industry every month simply by answering seven multiple choice questions. These opinions, combined with diffusion indexing and NFPA analysis, allow participants to identify the industry’s position in the business cycle, anticipate how the industry will do in the months to come, track industry backlog and hiring plans, and analyze the progress of your company compared to others.

Questions and inquiries about participating in the State of the Fluid Power Industry Survey can be directed to Eric Armstrong at earmstrong@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3372.

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