November Report Shows Another Drop in Machine Tool Orders

November Report Shows Another Drop in Machine Tool Orders

New orders for machine tools declined in November for the second consecutive month, following the increases in August and September, coinciding with IMTS 2016. U.S. manufacturers ordered $329.61 million worth of new manufacturing technology during November, according to the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report issued each month by AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

USMTO report summarizes actual totals for machine tool sales, nationwide and in six regions, as reported by participating companies that produce and distribute metal-cutting and metal-forming and -fabricating equipment, including domestically manufactured and imported machinery and equipment.  AMT describes USMTO data as a reliable leading indicator of the industrial economy, as manufacturing companies invest in capital equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

The November USMTO results indicate a 2.4% decline from October and a 1.3% decline from the November 2015 results. Through 11 months of data, 2016 new orders total $3.578 billion, which is 5.1% lower than the January-November 2015 order total.

AMT commented that motor vehicle, aerospace, and job-shop manufacturing “showed increased order activity” in the last months of 2016, which it related to “capital investment in anticipation of a need for additional capacity.”

It also opined that some leading economic indicators suggest stronger activity to come, namely the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which rose in December for the fourth consecutive month; and that new orders and production for U.S. factories rose to their highest levels since 2014.

“While our industry endured some challenges in 2016, bookings for the last few months of the year were better than expected and early input on January is very promising, particularly in the aerospace and job-shop sectors,” stated AMT President Douglas K. Woods.

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American Machinist is an IndustryWeek companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

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