Sales of machine tools and other related equipment in the U.S. jumped more than 66% in September, almost $400 million ahead of the numbers in August, and marked an improvement of 157% from the numbers from a year ago, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors Association and The Association For Manufacturing Technology in their monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Consumption report.

The September numbers, which jumped from $246.42 million in August to $399.76 million, brings total 2010 year-to-date sales to $2,090.27 million, representing a 74.1% improvement over the nine-month total for 2009.

This is significant because it also includes data from the period covered by IMTS 2010, the industrys largest biennial trade show. The monthly USMTC report is compiled jointly by AMTDA and AMT, based on actual sales date provided by participating companies and representing production and distribution of manufacturing technology.

September 2010 was a watershed in the recovery from the recession of 2008-9, said AMTDA president Peter Borden. The 1,992 units sold this month is the highest number since September of 2008, and demonstrates the resilience and staying power of the U.S. manufacturing base.

More remarkably, Borden continued, this was done while many factories are running below the capacity levels that require capital goods purchases, despite the tight credit, and in spite of questions about government debt and potential tax increases. The catalysts of the successful IMTS, the weaker dollar, and the passage of bonus depreciation paid surprising and long awaited dividends.

The USMTC provides regional and national U.S. consumption data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. According to the report, the region of the country showing the greatest gains in September was the South, whose manufacturing technology consumption more than doubled from $30.4 million in August to almost $67 million in September. The September total was up almost 390% over September 2009.

Midwest regional sales during September totaled $121.80 million, 49.0% more than during August and 157.6% more than during September 2009.

The most modest gains were found in the Western region which reported almost $32 million in manufacturing technology consumption, a 27.5% rise over August, and a 29.8% gain over the previous year.