U.S. manufacturing activity slowed slightly from March to April according to the results of the monthly Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR), a monthly log of cutting-tool consumption as an indicator of manufacturing activity across a wide range of industries. Manufacturers consumed $203.68 million worth of cutting tools during April, 1.6% less than in March, but the latest figure also represents a 21.2% rise over the April 2017 consumption total.
Through the first four months of this year, U.S. manufacturers’ cutting-tool consumption totals $784.69 million, a 9.6% increase over the January-April 2017 period.
“April results trended down slightly, but that does not indicate the cutting-tool market is softening,” stated Philip Kurtz, president of the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI), which jointly issues the CTMR with AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology
“The year-over-year and year-to-date results reflect a very healthy market,” Kurtz continued. “Metal cutting shops have strong backlogs that will carry well into the future and the need for cutting tools will follow. Taking those much-needed summer vacations may be a challenge, but being busy is a good problem to have.”
Data presented in the CTMR is based on the actual totals reported by participating cutting-tool manufacturers, and represent the majority of the U.S. market for those products.
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.
According to Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, cited by USCTI and AMT, “growth in cutting tools (demand) is outpacing the solid momentum from the broader durable goods category, which has seen shipments rise 7% year to date. A 9% gain in year-to-date durable goods orders points to solid momentum in the second half of 2018.”