Industry Market Trends
Machine Tech Consumption up in February
April 12, 2012
Manufacturing technology orders increased among U.S. manufacturers in most major regions in February, with demand for machine tools and related equipment rising on both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis in all but the Northeast region. The combined value of machine tools and related equipment consumption by United States manufacturers rose to $444.06 million in February, up 9.3 percent from January, according to the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report (USMTO) this week. In addition to the monthly gain, the February total was also up 35.2 percent from the same month last year. With a year-to-date total of $850.4 million, the value of manufacturing technology orders so far in 2012 is 21.7 percent higher than in the same period last year. Based on data from member companies of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), which merged with the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association last month, the USMTO report provides regional and national consumption data for manufacturing tools and related equipment. February machine tool consumption increased in four of the five major U.S. regions tracked by the USMTO on both a month-to-month and year-over-year basis. The largest gains were in the South, where manufacturing tech orders rose to $53.3 million in February, 45.2 percent higher than in January and 54.2 percent above the February 2011 figure. So far this year, consumption in the South has climbed to $90.01 million, up 2.1 percent from the total for the same period in 2011. Machine tool consumption in the Midwest increased to $164.43 million, a 14.1 percent gain over January and 46.6 percent above the February 2011 total. In addition, the year-to-date total of $308.75 million was 36.8 percent higher than in the first two months of last year. At $41.99 million, February machine tech consumption in the Western region was up 4.1 percent from January and 53.7 percent from February 2011. The year-to-date total of $82.31 million was 16.9 percent higher than the total for the same period last year. In the Central region, the value of machine tech orders rose to $132.21 million in February, a 1.9 percent rise from January and a 32.2 percent year-over-year gain. So far in 2012, Central region manufacturers have ordered $260.03 million worth of manufacturing tools and tech, 23.9 percent more than during the same period in 2011. The Northeast was the only region to experience a decline in February, with orders falling to $53.14 million, down 5.7 percent from January and 3.7 percent less than the total for February 2011. However, the region's year-to-date total of $109.48 million was 4.5 percent higher than in the first two months of 2011. "Manufacturing technology orders are off to their best start since 1998," AMT President Douglas K. Woods said in a statement. "U.S. manufacturers continue to seek increases in productivity through automation and innovative technologies to increase their global competitiveness." According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the overall value of new machinery orders edged up from $31.1 billion in January to $33.1 billion in February, a 6.5 percent increase, led by gains in ventilation, heating and refrigeration equipment; power transmission equipment; mining and gas field equipment; and industrial equipment. So far this year, machinery orders total $62.6 billion, up 12.8 percent from the prior-year level. Machinery shipments have also been on an upswing, climbing up from $30 billion in January to $30.7 billion in February, a 2.3 percent gain. The year-to-date total for machinery shipments rose to $56.6 billion in February, up 13.5 percent from the same period last year. "Increased auto sales, sustained corporate purchases of equipment and inventory rebuilding are underpinning the industry that led the U.S. out of the recession more than two years ago," Bloomberg News reports. "At the same time, less demand from overseas customers remains a risk for manufacturers, which account for about 12 percent of the economy."