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Two Market Perspectives

On a recent tour of several Midwestern metalcasting facilities, there was no evidence of what so many in the U.S. are calling a current economic downturn, or if you don’t mind saying the R-word, “recession.”

One, a small ferrous agricultural firm, has seen no drop-off in the success that has propelled it over the past few years, recently building a new facility to crank out more castings. And a second, a larger producer of parts for the same industry situated not far across the rural landscape of Kansas, is forecasting continued growth, with new contracts being won regularly. It was a refreshing trip across the dusty planes.

For a different perspective, have a look at the June MODERN CASTING web poll. The majority of our readers apparently aren’t doing as well as those lucky agricultural suppliers.

“Judging by your current casting sales, do you believe the U.S. economy is going through a recession?” the web poll asked. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (66.3%) answered yes. We can only assume that at least a few of the remaining 33.7% serve the agricultural market.

It’s possible that the paradox presented by these two unscientific samples of metalcasters’ opinions can be written off to the medium of communication through which they were gathered. In person, people are less likely to admit that they’ve fallen on hard times. With the anonymity of the internet protecting them, it’s far easier to click “yes” and admit that your business has seen better days.

However, what’s mostly at work is that agricultural suppliers really are doing well. Unfortunately, the lion’s share of metalcasting markets isn’t as successful, and the net result is an industry that is feeling the pinch of the slowdown. But it’s always nice to visit those ag guys, who think the R-word is “revitalization.”