U.S. machine shops and other manufacturers ordered $365.6 million worth of new capital equipment during August, -3.2% less than the total for July and -27.6% compared to the August 2018 total. This result marked 2019’s fifth month-to-month decline in the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report issued by AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology, and the eighth decline in the past 12 months.
For the year to date, new orders of machine tools have totaled $2.99 billion nationwide, which is -14.4% less than the total value of new orders during the comparable January to August 2018 period.
AMT noted that, despite reduced order volume the 2019 YTD total is the second highest annual eight-month total recorded since 2014.
AMT reports nationwide and regional data for orders of metal cutting and metal forming and fabricating equipment. The report is based on data supplied by participating producers and distributors of that equipment, and offers a leading indicator of industrial demand as machine shops and other manufacturers invest to complete planned or anticipated production programs.
Based on the August results, AMT noted that new machine-tool orders from the construction-machine manufacturing sector rose considerably over the previous month, and aerospace manufacturing orders increased by nearly one third. New orders from machine shops showed a slight increase over their July total.
However, automotive-sector decreased overall, though there were "modest increases" from manufacturers of transmission and powertrain equipment.
Regionally, the USMTO report included some positive results. AMT reported new orders in the Northeast region for metal-cutting equipment increased 20.6% from July, and 17.5% from August 2018, to $85.56 million. For the year-to-date, the region’s new orders are down -5.6% from Jan.-Aug. 2018, to $562.06 million.
In the Southeast, new orders for metal-cutting equipment totaled $47.33 million, up 52.8% from July and 4.8% from August 2018. The regional year-to-date order total is $348.72 million, a drop of -4.5% versus last year’s eight-month total.
The North Central East region had total new orders worth $79.10 million in August, down 26.1% from July and down -23.7% from August 2018. The eight-month total is $522.38 million, down -31.4% from 2018.
In the North Central West, new orders for metal-cutting equipment remained nearly even (-0.4%) with July at $60.66 million, but down 56.4% from August 2018. The region’s January-August total for all manufacturing technology orders stands at $522.38 million, a YTD drop of -31.4%.
Metal-cutting machine new orders from the South Central region fell -13.3% from July to $28.97 million in August, a result that is down -45.1% from august 2018. The YTD result is $263.80 million, a YTD decline of -24.0%.
The West region’s metal-cutting machine new orders totaled $60.63 million, down -8.6% from July and -18.5% from August 2018. The January-August order total is $539.23 million, a -7.4% year-to-date decline.
“The consensus of analysts at MTForecast is that markets should pick up in the U.S. as early as next summer, and will pick up in Europe several months earlier, taking the pressure off the U.S.,” commented AMT president Douglas K. Woods.