U.S. manufacturers’ new orders of machine tools and related technology rose over 30% during March, the second month in a row indicating rising demand, and also gained an edge over the March 2012 result. The results are contained in the monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report, compiled by AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, and based on actual data for domestic and imported products ordered by U.S. machine shops and other manufacturers.
The March new orders totaled $507.91 million, an increase of 30.4% over the revised result for February, $389.37 million. The new result represents $468.09 million in metal cutting equipment and technology, and $39.83 million in orders for metal forming and fabricating products.
The March result is also 3.24% higher than the $491.96 million on record for March 2012, another period of rising demand.
“When making a year-over-year comparison with these figures, it’s important to take into account just how strong 2012 was for our industry. Our members are doing much better than analysts projected in January,” stated AMT president Douglas K. Woods.
2012 started out with indications of strong demand, but orders slowed in the second quarter of last year. An outstanding result for September 2012 helped push the annual total to a positive result.
For the current year to-date, domestic manufacturers have ordered $1,278.05 million of products and equipment, according to the USMTO report. This represents a -5.0% decline versus the three-month total for 2012. The negative result indicates the weak demand that prevailed in the early weeks of 2013.
“With vehicle sales and housing starts on the upswing, we can anticipate that gains in the consumer economy will also mean buoyancy for the industrial economy, and manufacturing will remain steady for the foreseeable future,” Woods continued in his statement.
Double-Digit Regional Improvements
The monthly report documents demand for manufacturing technology equipment and products in six regions of the U.S. In each region, the USMTO results for March indicate double-digit monthly increase
In the Northeast, new orders for manufacturing technology rose 31.8%, from $54.61 million in February to $71.99 million in March. The latest month’s result indicates a decline of -3.2% from March 2012, and brings the regional year-to-date total to $177.37 million, down -6.5% from the January-March 2012 period.
In the Southeast, new orders rose 20.2% to $36.07 million in March, from $30.02 million in February. However, the new result is -38.7% less than the March 2012 total.
The January-March 2013 total for new orders in the Southeast is $103.65 million, -21.1% off the pace for the first quarter of 2012.
The North Central-East region reported new orders of $145.53 million for March, up 29.4% from the $112.49 million result for February, and up 19.1% versus the March 2012 result.
The region’s year-to-date total for new orders is $363.91 million, up 7.5% compared to the January-March 2012 total.
In the North Central-West regionMarch new orders for manufacturing technology rose 30.1% to $105.93 million, from $81.43 million in February. The result for March is also an increae of 21.4% in the year-on-year comparison.
At $259.46 million, the North Central-West region has had total 2013 new orders that are 6.5% higher than the comparable figure for 2012.
Results for the South Central region showed March new orders for machining products rose 15.0% higher than the February total, from $57.41 million to $66.04 million. Still, this new result is down 18.4% when compared with the March 2012 figure. At $197.00 million, the region’s 2013 year-to-date total is 27.9% less than the comparable figure for 2012.
Lastly, in the West new orders for manufacturing technology orders rose 54.2% from February to March, from $53.41 million to $82.36 million. The latest result also represents in increase of 20.5% over the March 2012 figure.
For the year-to-date, new orders in the West region total $176.65 million, 4.6% higher than the same region’s three-month total for 2012.