U.S. Machine Tool Orders Down Again for November

Second consecutive monthly decline still keeps strong pace annual improvement

U.S. manufacturers and machine shops ordered $430.17 million worth of machine tools and related products in November, falling by 6.9% from the October result of $463.32 million and marking the second consecutive month of declining totals. The monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report is issued by AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association and AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology, based on actual sales data delivered by participating companies, and AMT president Douglas Woods has acknowledged recently that the rate of new orders was likely to slow in the early months of 2012.

However, the November 2011 total also represents 26.6% increase over the $339.68 million in orders recorded for November 2011; and the 11-month total for 2011 improved to $4,956.51 million, a 73.9% increase over the January-November 2010 total.

“Manufacturing technology orders slowed slightly in November, but maintained their sprint toward the 2011 finish line thanks to the bonus depreciation tax incentive,” stated AMTDA president Peter Borden. “The order slowdown in metal cutting equipment was countered by acceleration in the fabricating sector and contributed to an increase over 2010 of nearly 75%. Backlogs for 2012 are very healthy at this point and growing longer.”

The USMTO report also includes data for regional sales of machine tools and related equipment and products. In the Northeast region, manufacturers ordered new products valued at $64.88 million, a drop of 1.8% versus October’s $66.09 million total, and a decrease of 1.4% from the November 2010 total. For eleven months of 2011, the Northeast region had sales totaling $743.95 million, 38.9% better than the January-November 2010 figure.

In the South, new orders for manufacturing technology amounted to $51.77 million, a decline of 4.0% from the October result, $53.91 million. However, the November result is a 17.3% improvement over the November 2010 total, and the January-November 2011 result improved to $619.34 million – a 55.5% rise over the comparable figure for 2010.

Midwest manufacturers’ November new orders totaled $141.29 million, down 5.0% from the previous month’s $148.77 million, but 22.1% above the same figure for 2010. The region’s year-to-date sales total is $1,663.63 million, an increase of 94.0% the 11-month 2010 total.

The Central states’ November machine tool orders fell 9.6% to $125.10 million, from $138.31 million in October, but also 56.4% above the November 2010 total. For the January-November period, the Central region had sales totaling $1,354.89 million, 81.9% over the comparable period for 2010.

In the Western region, November new equipment orders amounted to $47.14 million, a 14.6% drop from the October total of $55.17 million, but 34.3% above the November 2010 total. The West’s 2011 year-to-date total now stands at $574.70 million, an 83.5% improvement over the comparable period for the previous year.

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