Survey Finds U.S. Machine Tool Orders Fell 22% in October

Further declines ahead, trade group executive cautions

Domestic manufacturers’ new orders of machine tools and related technology fell 22.4% in October, to $463.32 million from $606.56 million in September, according to AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology and AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Assn. in their monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report.

The new figure also marked a 20.3% improvement over the October 2010 total for new orders, and brings the year-to-date total to $4,529.11 million, an improvement of 80.5% over the ten-month total for last year. “Manufacturing technology orders through October have already surpassed the total value accumulated in 2007,” AMT president Douglas Woods offered.

“The beginning of 2012 will be a little slow as tax incentives pulled some orders back into 2011, which will likely make 2012 growth softer,” Woods continued, echoing a messages delivered in November by two of Europe’s largest machine-tool builders’ trade groups. The German Machine Tool Builders’ Assn. (VDW) reported its members’ face slower growth than the strong demand recorded through much of this year; and CECIMO, the European Assn. of the Machine Tool Industries, said, “the dire outlook of the financial sector is now overshadowing the very positive outcome from EMO, the world’s premier machine tool exhibition. The uncertainty in the financial markets is spreading to the industrial sectors and might influence the growth rates in 2012.”

The USMTO report is a monthly compilation of data representing the value of machine tools and related components and technology, both production and distribution, nationwide and on a regional basis.

In the Northeast, new orders for manufacturing technology totaled $64.11 million during October, a decline of 43.0% compared to the September total of $112.41 million, and a 34.1% fall-off from the October 2010 total. For the year to-date, total machine tool sales in the Northeast region stand at $677.09 million after 10 months, a 44.5% improvement over the January-October 2010 period.

In the South, October manufacturing technology new orders amounted to $55.87 million, a 28.4% decline from the September total of $78.04 million, but a 40.6% increase versus the total for October 2010. The region’s year-to-date total is now $568.93 million, up 60.7% over the region’s ten-month total for 2010.

The Midwest had new orders for machine tools and related equipment and technology totaling $149.95 million in October, 13.0% less than the September total ($172.26 million) but an increase of 30.5% versus the comparable figure for October total. The year-to-date total for machine tool sales in the Midwest amounts to $1,523.76 million, an improvement of 105.4% against the region’s January-October 2010 total.

The Central region had manufacturing technology orders totaling $138.74 million in October, a decline of 16.4% from September’s total of $165.98 million, and a 49.3% rise over the October 2010 total. The Central state’s year-to-date sales total is now $1,232.28 million, 85.3% higher than the total for the comparable period of 2010.

Finally, the Western region’s new orders for machine tools and related technology totaled $54.65 million in October, a decline of 19.9% less from the $68.25 million reported for September, but an increase of 35.3% over the October 2010 figure. The West’s January-October 2011 total is $527.05 million, an 88.8% improvement over the first ten months of 2010.

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