By John S. McClenahen Gross new orders of machine tools for U.S. consumption were $157.06 million in July, down 33.7% from their June total of $236.92 million, according to the Rockville, Md.-based American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) and the McLean, Va.-based AMT-the Association for Manufacturing Technology. However, their data also show that July's total was 8.2% higher than the $145.09 million recorded in July 2002, making July 2003 the second consecutive month that orders have posted a year-on-year increase. "This activity is consistent with encouraging reports on durable goods orders, consumer confidence and growing activity in the manufacturing sector that signal continued U.S. recovery," says Ralph J. Nappi, AMTDA president. In July 2003, gross new orders for U.S. consumption of metal cutting machine tools were $150.39 million, down 31.3% from June's $218.83 million. New orders for metal forming machine tools in July 2002 were $6.67 million, 63.1% less than June's $18.09 million. For the first seven months of the year, gross new orders of machine tools for U.S. consumption totaled $1.103 billion, 15.5% less than the $1.305 billion recorded during the first seven months of 2002.