Machine tool orders rise 19%

Association for Manufacturing Technology reports growth in orders for machine tools and related products, signaling continued growth in durable goods manufacturingAssociation for Manufacturing Technology reports growth in orders for machine tools and related products, signaling continued growth in durable goods manufacturing

Orders for U.S. manufacturing technology rose in May, indicating continued strength in the manufacturing sector.

The Association for Manufacturing Technology released its United States Manufacturing Technology Orders report this week, showing that orders rose to $474 million during the month—a 19% increase over May 2011 and a 15% rise over April 2012. Year-to-date, manufacturing technology—machine tools and related equipment—hit $2.2 billion, a 12% increase over 2011.

The news came on the heels of other positive economic signals, including rising housing starts and strong durable goods orders, but followed a dip in the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Manager’s Index for June. The manufacturing sector contracted for the first time in nearly three years during June, ISM reported, as the PMI fell to 49.7%--just below the 50-point threshold indicating growth.

AMT representatives are optimistic despite the mixed signals.

“The latest USMTO figures indicate both sound health and continued expansion in durable goods manufacturing,” said AMT president Douglas K. Woods. “This is backed up by other key economic indicators, including an upward revision in housing starts and a strong showing in durable goods orders. While the latest PMI saw a slight dip, overall indications are that manufacturing will continue to lead the way in the general economy.”

Regionally, manufacturing technology orders saw the biggest growth in the Central and Southern regions of the country, where May totals rose 41% and 40%, respectively, compared to May 2011. The West also saw big gains, with orders rising 22% in May compared to the same month last year. In the Midwest, May orders rose 5% compared to the year-earlier period. The Northeast was the only region to contract, with orders down 0.6% compared to May 2011.

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