"It surely sounds like a recession is coming," said Scott Wojciak, president of SBP's Fluid Power and Automation Division. "I'm thinking next year more so than this year. Even if a recession comes, I feel we lag that market some. So if a recession comes, we'd feel it a bit later, but then when business comes back, we feel that a bit later too."
While the purchasing manager's index has been dropping, it's still above a mark of 50, some of the firm's markets are solid, and its bookings and backlog are up.
"We do worry about it," Wojciak said. "We still have the supply chain issue, but I'm reading the news and have never been as confused as I am now in this business, just because we're in such a unique time with this supply chain issue coming off the pandemic."
Sam Petillo, president of the firm's Singer Hose and Rubber Division, said demand has remained strong for the distributor, which has 78 locations and more than 1,000 employees in North America.
"But we read the news and the economic forecasts, and we're going to continue to monitor all the macroeconomic indicators and the impact of global events," he said.
Company officials also will keep communication channels open with vendors and customers to gauge their forecasts, and keep a close eye on bookings and backlogs.
"Inflation has taken a toll on consumer confidence and spending," Petillo told Rubber News, "especially with fuel and food. We saw slowdowns in the retail sector, but we have not seen that in our industrial space yet. So we're fairly optimistic. With the rubber industry, we should continue to see strength until the end of this year."