Manufacturing Technology Orders Up 11.3% in March

May 14, 2012
First quarter shows increase of nearly 13%.

Orders for machine tools and related manufacturing equipment increased 11.3% from February to March, totaling $495.97 million, AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology reported in its monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report. However, orders were down 1.4% from the $502.89 million recorded in March 2011.

Orders showed a healthy increase for the first quarter of 2012, up 12.9% from the comparable period in 2011 and totaling $1.35 billion.

In its regional analysis, four of the five regions showed increases for the first quarter compared to 2011, with the central region leading the increases with a 22.0% rise. Only the northeast showed a slight dip in orders through March, down 0.2% compared to the first quarter of 2011.

"Manufacturing is expanding with no clear signal of a downturn in sight," said Douglas K. Woods, AMT president. "Manufacturing added 34,000 jobs in March, capacity utilization is just shy of 80% and USMTO order growth confounds experts as it climbed 12% over 2011 levels. However, remaining obstacles to future manufacturing investment include a lack of access to credit, global supply issues, encroaching industry regulations and taxes, and overall political uncertainty."

Machine technology orders are considered a leading indicator for manufacturing overall because companies invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

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Before joining the IW staff, Steve was publisher and editorial director of Penton Media’s EHS Today, where he was instrumental in the development of the Champions of Safety and America’s Safest Companies recognition programs.

Steve received his B.A. in English from Oberlin College. He is married and has two adult children.

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