Despite slowing of housing and automotive markets, the national average for custom injection molding machine-hour rates crept up a barely perceptible 0.8% in the second half of 2006.

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Despite slowing of housing and automotive markets, the national average for custom injection molding machine-hour rates crept up a barely perceptible 0.8% in the second half of 2006. That figure was smaller than the 2% rise in the first half of last year, which was the largest move either up or down in several years.

Only 25% of the 77 custom molders responding to this survey changed their hourly rates at all in late ’06. While 4% lowered their rates (by an average of 13%), 21% raised rates (by an average of 6%). The latter figure is down from 30% who raised rates in the first half of ’06 but is still higher than usual in our semi-annual surveys.

Custom injection molder’s machine-capacity utilization remained at 58.5%, virtually unchanged from the first half of the year. Almost equal numbers of molders reported increased, decreased, or unchanged capacity utilization. Molders in the West reported highest average utilization, and those in the Northeast were the lowest.

 

Optimism up, molds down

A possible reflection of softer plastics markets is the 1.2% decline in new mold orders reported by 51 mold shops nationwide. That followed 18 months of steadily rising mold orders since the end of 2004.

However, molder’s optimism remained unabated—or even somewhat strengthened. Some 52% of respondents said they foresaw improving business conditions in the near term, up four points since the first half of last year. Fewer than 16% of molders expected business to worsen, a big drop from six months earlier. About a third foresaw no change in business conditions in the near future. Injection molders in the West were the most optimistic, and those in the North Central region were least hopeful. 

 

PROFIT & LABOR IN HOURLY RATES

Deduct these amountsa from the figures in the larger table to arrive at 
rates without profit, operator, or both.

Press 
Tonnage
Without ProfitWithout OperatorWithout Either
<10012.4%17.6%31.5%
100-2998.7%13.3%26.2%
300-4997.2%11.0%21.7%
500-7495.6%9.1%18.4%
750-9996.5%13.0%21.1%
1000+5.8%10.9%17.6%
a Cumulative national averages over many surveys.

 

CUSTOM INJECTION MOLDERS' MACHINE-HOUR RATES 
WITH OPERATOR, PROFIT MARGIN INCLUDEDa (77 PLANTS)

Dollars Per Hour (High/Average/Low) 4th Quarter 2006
Tonnage Range<5050-99100-299300-499500-749750-9991000-14991500-19992000-29993000+Indexb
Northeat
(ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI, NY, NJ, PA)
$60.00$59.00$66.00$136.40$136.40

 

 

 

 

 

 

$36.36$37.29$40.85$57.09$97.28

 

 

 

 

 

84
$22.00$20.00$25.00$32.56$58.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southeast
(DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)
$38.64$52.34$63.97$75.60$93.04$82.80$136.10

 

 

 

 

$23.79$31.08$36.98$42.24$55.59$47.68$76.62

 

 

 

65
$6.81$10.89$10.89$10.89$13.61$13.61$13.61

 

 

 

 

North Central
(IL, IN, MI, OH, WI, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD)
$127.93$65.00$85.00$130.00$97.15$119.77$105.00$129.64$197.45$235.30

 

$37.98$34.39$41.86$52.99$68.25$83.44$84.57$106.60$186.23$235.3080
$15.12$15.12$19.77$27.00$30.00$35.00$55.20$71.76$175.00$235.30

 

South Central
(AL, KY, MS, TN, AR, LA, OK, TX)
$52.34$87.23$65.14$76.18$92.74$110.00$135.00$167.40$272.20$337.53

 

$34.54$39.92$41.60$53.64$76.65$92.30$114.95$162.09$231.33$316.1582
$22.58$24.05$18.51$43.50$58.25$71.26$90.17$156.77$180.00$294.77

 

West
(CA, OR, WA, AK, HI, AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY)
$70.00$70.00$90.00$65.00$86.00$98.86

 

 

 

 

 

$47.42$47.85$55.31$57.49$73.86$94.43

 

 

 

 

100
$22.58$33.12$38.00$48.00$65.00$90.00

 

 

 

 

 

National Averagec
$37.41$37.66$43.40$53.78$76.11$82.33$88.51$118.41$195.83$252.50

 

Average Change in Hourly Rates In Second Half 2006: +0.8%
a An adjustment factor is used where data do not already include profit and labor. b Relative to highest-cost region (which equals 100); value shown is a weighted average for all size ranges. c Weighted geographically according to Plastics Technology's Manufacturing Census.