U.S. Machine Tool Orders Rebound in February

April 10, 2012
9.3% improvement enough for best start since 1998

Manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools and related technology rose 9.3% to $444.06 million in February from $406.34 million in January, and up 35.2% over the $328.44 million recorded in February 2011. The information is contained in the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report, maintained and issued by AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology and based actual data collected from participating companies.

The USMTO report includes data on sales of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. The report includes regional as well as nationwide statistics.

For the two months of 2012, the year-to-date total of $850.40 million shows an impressive 21.7% increase in new orders versus January-February 2011 ($698.90 million.) The new figure is also an encouraging rebound from a disappointing start to this year: Though revised upward from the initial release, the January order total marked a 21.8% decrease from the previous month’s result.

“Manufacturing technology orders are off to their best start since 1998,” stated AMT president Douglas K. Woods. “U.S. manufacturers continue to seek increases in productivity through automation and innovative technologies to increase their global competitiveness.”

The regional results show more variation in the robustness of the February increase. In the Northeast, new orders totaled $53.14 million in February, a 5.7% drop from the January result ($56.34 million) and a decline of 3.7% from the total for February 2011 ($55.15 million.) However, at $109.48 million the year-to-date result for the Northeast shows progress, 4.3% higher than the comparable figure for ($104.96) for January-February 2011.

In the South, February new orders of manufacturing technology rose 45.2% to $53.30 million, from $36.71 million in January, and also 54.2% better than the $34.56 total for February 2011. For 2012 to-date, the Southern region has posted new orders totaling $90.01 million, 2.1% better than the $88.16 recorded for the first two months of last year.

The Midwest saw February manufacturing technology orders rise 14.1% to $164.43 million, from $144.14 million in January, and 46.6% from $112.13 million in February 2011. The latest figure brings the region’s year-to-date total to $308.57 million, an improvement of 36.8% over the $225.55 million posted for January-February 2011.

In the Central U.S., February new orders increased a slight 1.9% to $132.21 million, versus the January total of $128.82 million, but 32.2% higher than the $99.28 million for February 2011. Through two months of 2012, the region’s total is $260.03 million, or 23.9% above the $209.81 million figure for the comparable period of 2011. The Western states’ new orders amounted to $41.99 million in February, up 4.1% from January total of $40.32 million, and up 53.7% over $27.31 million on record for February 2011. The region’s two-month total for 2012 is $82.31 million, a 16.9% increase versus $70.42 posted for January-February 2011.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)