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US Machine Tool Orders Rose 56% in September

Nov. 14, 2016
U.S. manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools surged 56% from August to September, and 52% over the September 2015 result, totaling $497.25 million for the month. The orders are explained as an effect of September’s IMTS 2016 event.

U.S. manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools surged 56% from August to September, and 52% over the September 2015 result, totaling $497.25 million for the month. It was the second consecutive month of rising orders, following a surprising improvement in the August results. AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology reports the totals in its monthly U.S. Machine Tool Orders Report.

USMTO data is a leading economic indicator of manufacturing activity, as machine shops and others invest in capital equipment to increase metal-cutting and metal-forming capacity and improve productivity. AMT’s current position is that a manufacturing sector recovery is not expected until the second half of 2017.

The USMTO report summarizes actual totals for machine tools, 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 economic indicator, as manufacturing companies invest in capital equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

The September result demonstrates “the IMTS effect,” the association explained, because the figures include totals recorded by exhibitors at the biannual International Machine Tool Show, which took place September 12-17.

“This year’s uptick in orders indicates manufacturers are eager to see and confident enough to invest in the latest manufacturing technology to improve their operations and products, but the momentum will slow heading into 2017,” commented AMT president Douglas K. Woods.

New orders for machine tools have been lackluster for much of the two years between IMTS 2014 and IMTS 2016, and the September increase was not unexpected.  For the current year-to-date, U.S. new orders for machine tools have declined 6.4% versus 2015, totaling $2.91 billion. After first forecasting a late-year rise in new orders, AMT in June revised that outlook and now maintains that current market forecasts indicate total new orders for 2016 will finish lower than 2015.

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