New orders for machine tools and related technology in the U.S. fell 26.6% from March to April, from a revised figure of $507.2 million to $372.50 million. The new figure also indicates a decline of 12.6% from the April 2012 result, $426.44 million.

The totals are reported by AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology, based on actual data for domestic and imported equipment and other products ordered by U.S. machine shops and other manufacturers participating in the U.S Manufacturing Technology Orders program.

The latest month’s result shows a 28.7% month-to-month drop for metal cutting equipment and components, but only a 1.2% month-to-month decline for metal forming and fabricating equipment and components.

Also, the April results bring the year-to-date total for machine tool orders to $1.65 billion, a 7% decline against the four-month total for 2012.

“Order totals leveled off to the averages we’ve seen so far this year, but they aren’t out of line with analyst predictions,” AMT president Douglas K. Woods observed.

“Likewise, the Purchasing Manager’s Index recently dropped below 50,” Woods continued, “indicating contraction within manufacturing – but hiring continued to expand throughout the industry. With auto sales strong, the housing industry showing signs of a true rebound, and consumer confidence on the rise, we expect to continue seeing steady but slower activity.”