U.S. manufacturers ordered $354.40 million worth of new machine tools and related technology during February, a decline of 6.6% from January, and a similar 6.2% decline from February 2013. It was the second straight month of declining orders, and brings the 2014 year-to-date total for new orders to $733.82 million, which is down 0.6% from the two-month total for 2013.
The figures are included in the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report, issued on a monthly basis by AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology. AMT tracks orders for metal cutting equipment separately from metal forming and fabricating equipment, with the combined figure representing the monthly total. The monthly results are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTO program.
“A soft first quarter was expected for technology orders, and in this case further challenged by a harsh winter,” AMT president Douglas K. Woods observed. “Many key industry forecasts indicate growth for manufacturing through the end of the year. With the average age of capital equipment at almost 22 years and interest rates continuing to stay low, the environment is ripe for investment in manufacturing technology.”
While the overall result for February indicated declining demand for machine tools, orders for metal forming and fabricating equipment rose 44.8% over January; orders for metal cutting equipment declined 7.6%.
The USMTO report also includes the results for new manufacturing technology orders in six regions of the United States. (However, due to changes in the survey participants over the past 12 months the data has been adjusted and some regional totals are incomplete.)
In the Northeast region, new manufacturing technology orders totaled $64.05 million in February, rising 14.3% over February 2013. The region’s year-to-date orders were 41.8% higher than during the first two months of 2013.
In the Southeast, new orders for metal cutting machinery fell 18.5% from January, to $29.43 million; but rose 18.8% from February 2013. The year-to-date total for metal cutting equipment orders in the Southeast region is $65.52 million, 18.2% higher than the comparable 2013 figure.
The North Central-East delivered $82.06 million worth of new machine tool orders during February, down 6.5% from January’s $87.80 million, and down 25.2% compared with February 2013’s $109.71 million.
At $169.87 million, the North Central-East region is down 20% for the year-to-date compared with 2013’s two-month total.
In the North Central-West region, new machine tool orders during February rose 18.9% to $57.48 million, but fell 23.6% compared with the February 2013 results. The two-month total for 2014 is $105.82 million, down 26.2% compared to the total for the same period in 2013.
The South Central region delivered $47.44 million worth of new orders during February, with metal cutting equipment orders rising 38.3% for the month. These results are a 14.7% improvement over the February 2013 total, but the two-month total for 2014 metal cutting equipment is $124.74 million, down 9.6% versus January-February 2013.
Finally, in the West, metal cutting equipment orders declined 28.2% during February, to $52.41 million. The year-to-date metal cutting equipment orders in the region rose to $125.37 million, 39.1% above the two-month total for 2013.