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Cutting tools on an automated lathe.

Cutting Tool Consumption Rose in 2023

Feb. 21, 2024
A drop in orders during Q4 left the full-year total for cutting tool purchases at $2.45 billion, 6.9% higher than the previous annual result.

Machine shops and other U.S. manufacturers purchased $187.9 million worth of cutting tools during December, -7.3% less than in November and virtually unchanged from the December 2022 total. However, the new total pushed cutting-tool purchases to $2.45 billion for the full 12 months of 2023, which was 6.9% more than the full-year total for 2022.

“After a strong start to 2023, shipments of cutting tools weakened in the last quarter of the year, falling 7.3% in December,” according to economist Mark Killion, director of U.S. industries at Oxford Economics. “As a result, shipments ended the year near their 2022 levels.”

Cutting-tool consumption is an indicator of overall manufacturing activity because those purchases reflect production across a range of manufacturing market segments served by machining operations.

The consumption data is compiled by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology and reported in their monthly Cutting Tool Market Report. CTMR data is based on purchases reported by participating companies who comprise the majority of the U.S. market for cutting tools.

“With 2024 comes change and challenge,” observed Steve Boyer, president of USCTI. “The U.S. cutting-tool industry will continue to see growth opportunities in aerospace, automotive, medical, and computer- related segments but slowing and declines in other markets.

“While forecasts initially anticipated interest rate declines as we moved into 2024, recent inflation indicators appear to temper those expectations,” Boyer continued. “We enter the new year with a guarded view anticipating continued challenges and uneven growth.”

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