U.S. machine shops’ new orders for capital equipment ("manufacturing technology”) slipped another 1.7% from October to November, to $458.48 million. It was the second consecutive monthly decline in the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report, after the double-digit drop in October that followed the $608.92 million total for September, coinciding with IMTS 2018.
Manufacturing technology orders are a leading indicator of industrial activity as manufacturers invest to complete planned or anticipated production programs .
Even with declining results, the November 2018 total represented a 7.1% improvement over November 2017, and raised the 11-month total for the year to $5.014 billion, a 22.4% increase over the previous year.
The USMTO report is a monthly summary of machine tool orders compiled and issued by AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology, based on data supplied by participating producers and distributors of metal-cutting and metal-forming and -fabricating equipment. The report includes data for domestically manufactured and imported machinery and equipment, and the results are based on actual order totals, nationwide and in six regional markets.
“Orders in the third quarter were amazing, and no one expected that pace to continue into the last three months of 2018,” commented AMT President Doug Woods. “The single-digit October and November year-over-year growth rates are a harbinger of what we’ll see in early 2019, but our members are confident growth will continue as the aerospace industry ramps up to reduce order backlogs; medical equipment demand grows with the graying of North America; and the auto sector drives CapEx investment deeper into the supply chain.”
AMT attributed "the strength" for November year-over-year orders to the contract machining and industrial machinery sectors, which registered significant “jumps in demand” for new machine tools.
Forging and stamping industries also reported well for November, up 25% following a 75% increase from September to October.
November order increases were confined mainly to the Northeast — $96.94 million in new orders, +12.1% month/month, +44.3% year/year, and +30.7% YTD — though two other regions posted smaller gains.
In the Southeast, new orders fell -25.8% from October to $58.99 million, but remained 16.7% ahead of November 2017, and the January-November total for metal-cutting machine orders came in 34.6% higher than the previous year’s 11-month result.
In the North Central-East region total manufacturing technology orders of $105.7 rose 2.4% ahead of the October total, and 2.0% ahead of the November 2017 total. YTD manufacturing technology orders for the region are at $1.13 billion, 11.1% above the previous year.
The North Central-West posted total manufacturing technology orders of $76.3 million for November, -4.5% lower than October and -20.2% lower than November 2017. The 11-month result for the region is $1.02 billion, a 30.1% increase over the previous year.
In the South Central region metal-cutting machine orders totaled $33.6 million, down -2.1% from October and down -1.4% from November 2017. The regional YTD total for metal-cutting machinery orders is $456.8 million, a rise of 23.6% over the previous year.
Last, in the West region, metal-cutting machine orders increased 4.7% to $86.24 million from October to November, which is 11.1% ahead of the November 2017 result. The January-November total for manufacturing technology orders in the region is $841.8 million, an increase of 17.0% for the period.