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USMTO Sept 2019 chart AMT
U.S. manufacturing technology orders fell 1% from August to a total of $361.5 million in September 2019. For January-September 2019, new orders have totaled $2.99 billion nationwide.

Changing Indicators in Latest Machine Tool Orders

AMT finds optimistic signs in the September automotive and contract machining purchases

Machine shops’ and other U.S. manufacturers’ new orders for manufacturing technology totaled $361.5 million during September, -1.1% lower than the August result and -41.3% lower than the September 2018 total. While it is the sixth month this year to result in a month-to-month decline in new orders, the latter figure should be understood to include the total for new orders associated with IMTS 2018, an event that commonly accelerates the monthly purchasing volume for new machine tools.

For the current year to-date U.S. manufacturers have ordered $3.355 billion worth of metal-cutting and metal-forming and -fabricating machinery (collectively, "manufacturing technology".) The nine-month total is -18.2% lower than the comparable figure for January-September 2018.

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.

All the figures are supplied by AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology in its latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report. 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.

“Manufacturing technology orders were lower in September than in August, which has only happened twice since USMTO started tracking data,” stated AMT president Douglas K. Woods. “The automotive and aerospace sectors were higher, however, possibly due to companies looking to buy capital equipment and complete installation by year-end to take advantage of tax incentives.

“It could also be an indication that there was a bump of optimism in August around the GM and labor union talks and progress on trade issues,” Woods added.

Woods also highlighted the change in new orders related to contract machining, which typically represent about 30% of all manufacturing technology orders. This figure totaled about 40% over the last five months, but in September fell to 35%. “This is likely due to customers reducing their reliance on contract machining and increasing capital investments in their own plants,” Woods speculated.

The USMTO report includes the regional results for new orders. Manufacturing technology orders in the Northeast region slipped -11.7% from August to $74.97 million during September, which total is -33.5% lower than the September 2018 total. For the current year to-date, the region has logged $656 million worth of manufacturing technology new orders, -18.2% lower than last year’s January-September order total.

In the Southeast, September new orders for metal-cutting machinery rose 4.5% from August to $49.37 million. However, that represents a -60.4% the September 2018 total, and it means that the regional YTD total for metal-cutting machinery new orders is now $400.3 million, a drop of -18.3% from the January-September 2018 result.

The North Central-East region reported September manufacturing technology orders at $77.3 million, -2.6% lower than August and -38.8% lower than September 2018. The nine-month total for the region is $772.4 million, or -16.8% lower than the January-September 2018 total for the region.

The September total for North Central-West regional manufacturing technology is $56.38 million, or -8.3% less than the August total and -47.7% less than the September 2018 total. For the current year to-date, the region has booked $578.5 million worth of manufacturing technology new orders, a drop of -33.4% from the 2018 nine-month result.

In the Southwest region, the September total for metal-cutting machinery new orders is $29.33 million, 1.2% more than the August total and -33/7% less than the September result. It means that YTD total for the region’s metal-cutting machinery new orders is $290.2 million, or -25.8% less than last year’s comparable result.

Finally, the West region’s September total for new orders of manufacturing technology is $70.5 million, or 14.8% higher than the August total and -24.6% lower than the September 2018 result. For the year to-date, the West has posted manufacturing technology new orders worth $614.45 million, or -9.1% less than the comparable figure for 2018.

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