The ongoing expansion of the industrial economy paced another month of growth in U.S. manufacturing’s cutting-tool consumption, up 8.8% from February to $207.08 million during March. That total represents a 3.5% rise over the year-ago (March 2017) total, and brings the 2018 year-to-date total for cutting-tool consumption to $581.02 million, up 6.0% versus the January-March 2017 total.
The figures are supplied by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology in their monthly Cutting Tool Market Report. The CTMR is based on the figures reported by participating companies, and represent the majority of the U.S. market for cutting tools.
“The March cutting tool numbers continue to tell a story of strength and growth for our industry, however there are potential negative clouds forming on the horizon,” commented said Steve Stokey, EVP/owner of Allied Machine and Engineering, and AMT chairman. He noted specifically the prospect of tariffs on steel imports introducing market uncertainty as manufacturers’ purchasing agents seek to line up new suppliers.
“Shortages will cause disruptions and could impact growth as we move forward,” according to Stokey.
Nevertheless, sales of cutting tools are an indicator of current manufacturing activity, as those products represent “a primary consumable in the manufacturing process,” according to the CTMR authors. The strength of the March report demonstrates that growth in manufacturing activity over the past year.
“The cutting-tool industry continues to show strong growth in 2018. However, the industry is challenged with increasing raw material costs, record low unemployment and insecure international trade, because of changing global trade policies,” stated Brad Lawton, Chairman of AMT’s Cutting Tool Product Group.