U.S. companies continued to place new orders for machine tools and related equipment at a steady clip in April, reflecting continued strength in the manufacturing technology sector, according to figures released this week in the monthly United States Machine Tool Orders (USMTO) report from AMT-The Association for Manufacturing Technology.
Year-to-date, orders for manufacturing technology (machine tools and related equipment) rose 10% in April, to $1.8 million. At $410 million, April’s monthly total was 3% above the same month a year ago, but down sequentially—sinking 17% when compared to March 2012.
Despite the month-over-month decline, the data indicates continued strength in the manufacturing sector, said AMT president Douglas K. Woods, pointing to rising factory productivity and consistently climbing employment numbers in the industry.
The AMT report is a key economic indicator, revealing how manufacturing industries are investing in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.
The AMT report comes on the heels of other solid news from the manufacturing sector. Earlier this month, the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Report on Business showed continued strength in May, as the group’s Purchasing Manager’s Index remained above the growth threshold of 50%. May’s PMI registered 53.5, a modest 1.3% drop compared to April’s 54.8%, but reflected ongoing strength in new orders and a trend toward declining prices.
Regionally, manufacturing technology consumption saw the greatest year-to-date increase in the Central region of the country, rising 17% in April. The slowest growth was in the Northeast, as year-to-date orders for machine tools and related equipment rose just 3% in April.
The USMTO report represents data from both machine tool equipment manufacturers and distributors.