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Cutting-Tool Consumption Suggests Slow Recovery Ahead

May 19, 2020
U.S. manufacturers increased their activity rates from February to March, but the year-over-year figures show the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will extend through Q2 and Q3, with adjustment extending into 2021.

Machine shops and other domestic manufacturers consumed  $189.8 million during March, slightly (+0.9%) more than during February but -9.8% less than during March 2019. Like the recent report of manufacturers machine-tool new orders, the result shows the stable but less than robust activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector prior to the onset of plant shutdowns in mid-March, to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figures are drawn from the monthly Cutting Tool Market Report, issued jointly by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology. Cutting tools are a primary consumable for all manufacturing processes, and manufacturers’ consumption represents a leading indicator for U.S. manufacturing activity, comparable to durable goods shipments.

The CTMR report presents cutting-tool consumption based on the totals reported by the participating companies, which represent the majority of the U.S. market for cutting tools.

AMT's U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report for March, a forward-looking view of manufacturing trends, showed the sector is now facing a period of declining activity and a recovery delayed, possibly, until next year.

Commenting on the CTMR report, AMT Cutting Tool Product Group Brad Lawton, said, “The cutting-tool industry has followed the 2019 trend line during the first quarter of 2020. However, it is anticipated that the second and third quarter of 2020 will show the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with recovery extending into 2021.”

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