October Machine Tool Sales Drop 2.5%, but Factors Suggest Strength

Nationwide year-to-date sales up 83.2%; Northeast, West show improvements

Sales of machine tool sales to U.S. manufacturers and machine shops fell 2.5% during October, from $399.76 million to $387.13, according to data supplied by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Assn. (AMTDA) The information is based on actual data reported by companies participating in their monthly U.S. Machine Tool Consumption program, which includes information on a national and regional basis.

A separate source, IndustryInsight, indicates that sales of new machine tools in the U.S. totaled 1,215 units in October, which was an increase from September when it found 1,108 new units were sold. IndustryInsight also re-ports that October sales of used machine tools totaled 789 units.

The disparity between the two reports may be accounted for by the value of the machine tools sold during Sep-tember, and/or by some differences in recording the dates of sales and deliveries. The USMTC September figures are somewhat anomalous in that they include data from sales of manufacturing technology during IMTS 2010, the industry’s biennial trade expo. Following that, the October USMTC results are considered strong, and represent a 154.9% improvement over October 2009 when manufacturing technology consumption totaled $151.86 million.

“Never in the history of the USMTC have we seen a post-IMTS October rival September so closely,” according to AMT president Douglas K. Woods.

Woods also said “increased Sec. 179 expensing” — a reference to an Internal Revenue Service allowance that businesses use to claim the cost of certain types of property as an expense, rather than a capital investment to be depreciated — “and 50% bonus depreciation enacted in late September helped offset the declines we normally see after a show.”

For the calendar year, the USMTC finds that January-October 2010 manufacturing consumption amounts to $2,477.06 million, an increase of 83.2% over the comparable 10-month period of 2009.

In regional sales, strong results from the Northeast and West offset the declines in other areas. October sales in the Northeast totaled $97.59 million, a 51% rise in manufacturing technology consumption from September’s $64.62 million, and a 277.5% improvement over October 2009. Year-to-date sales in the region amount to $461.40 million, up 75.9% versus the January-October 2009 period, according to the USMTC.

In the West, manufacturing technology consumption came in at $40.41 million for the month, 29.4% above the $31.24 million recorded for September and 78.6% above the October 2009 result. The year-to-date total for the re-gion is $268.73 million, up 40.9% over the region’s January-October 2009 results.

The value of manufacturing technology in the Midwest was greater than in any other region during October at $116.66 million, but still represented a 3.3% decline from $120.67 during September. It was, however, a 147.5% im-provement over October 2009 and it brings year-to-date consumption in the region to $349.01 million, a rise of 86.3% for the comparable period of 2009.

The Central region reported manufacturing technology consumption totaling $92.45 million for October, 18.7% less than September’s $113.72 million, but 167.7% better than October 2009 consumption. For the 10 months of 2010, the Central region has posted a total of $651.50 million, 101.2% better than the comparable figure for 2009.

October consumption in the Southern region amounted to $40.01 million, according to the USMTC, a 40.2% drop from September’s $66.92 million total but an improvement of 84.3% over October 2009. The region’s year-to-date consumption totals $349.01 million, 86.3% better than the regional consumption total for January-October 2009.

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