Industry Market Trends

Manufacturing Tech Orders up in 2011

Feb 16, 2012

Domestic manufacturers ordered considerably more machine tools and related technology in December than they did in November, ending the year on a strong note. Total tech consumption for 2011 was also well above 2010.

The total consumption value of machine tools and related equipment by United States manufacturers rose to $519.98 million in December, a 12.2 percent rise over November and 12.7 percent above the December 2010 total, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report, released this week. For 2011 as a whole, manufacturing technology orders were 66.4 percent higher than in 2010.

Based on data from Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) member companies, the USMTO report provides national and regional U.S. consumption figures for machine tools and related equipment.

On a regional level, the largest December gains were in the South, with tech orders rising 68.7 percent over November to reach $91.29 million, 82.9 percent above the December 2010 total. The 2011 year-end total of $712.88 million was 59 percent above the full-year 2010 total.

In the Midwest, manufacturing tech orders rose to $178.83 million, 19.8 percent more than in November and 11.1 percent above the December 2010 level. For 2011 as a whole, the region consumed $1.85 billion worth of manufacturing tech, up 81.6 percent over 2010.

Orders in the Northeast climbed to $90.76 million in December, up 9.1 percent from November and 28 percent from December 2010. The 12-month total for the Northeast came to $852.96 million, 40.7 percent above the full-year 2010 total.

In the Western region, December machine tool orders totaled $44.1 million, a 10 percent decline from November and 21.7 percent below the total for December 2010. However, at $620.66 million, orders for all of 2011 were 68 percent higher than the total for 2010.

Manufacturing tech orders in the Central region fell to $115.01 million in December, down 10.1 percent from November and 6.7 percent below the level for December 2010. Yet the year-end total of $1.47 billion was 69.6 percent above the total for 2010.

According to the USMTO report, the year-end gains brought the total value of domestic manufacturing tech orders to $5.5 billion in 2011, 66.4 percent higher than the $3.24 billion total for 2010. Solid performance in the manufacturing sector and improved trade conditions have contributed to the upswing while boosting prospects for the overall economy.

"USMTO finished its strongest year in more than a decade as manufacturing led the U.S. recovery into 2012," AMT President Douglas K. Woods, explained. "The 67 percent increase is nearly 20 points higher than forecasters predicted, which is great news in terms of reducing the foreign trade deficit. Manufactured goods represent more than 65 percent of trade, so the rise of U.S. manufactured products will help reduce our reliance on imports and support growth in exports."

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce this month, new orders for machinery, including industrial, construction and material-handling equipment, rose to $34.2 billion in December, a 6.7 percent gain over November. For 2011 as a whole, machinery orders rose to $378.7 billion, up 13.4 percent from the 2010 total.

Meanwhile, U.S. machinery shipments rose to a value of $31.8 billion in December, 4.3 percent above the total for November. For 2011 overall, shipments totaled $354.3 billion, 12.2 percent above the 2010 total.

"[S]ince the recession ended more than 2 years ago, factories have been contributing disproportionately to the recovery in hiring and the overall economy," the Associated Press reports. "A big reason, economists say, is that individuals and businesses are making major purchases they delayed during the Great Recession and its aftermath. Consumers are buying more cars and appliances. Companies are investing in industrial machinery and computers. The release of that pent-up demand gives manufacturing a kick that isn't visible in some other corners of the economy."


Manufacturing Tech Demand Increases Year-over-Year

Machine Tech Consumption up in 2010


Manufacturing Technology Orders up 66.4% in 2011

American Machine Tool Distributors' Association/Association for Manufacturing Technology, Feb. 13, 2012

Full Report on Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders - December 2011

U.S. Department of Commerce, Feb. 3, 2012

Manufacturers Providing Outsize Boost to Economy

by Christopher S. Rugaber

The Associated Press, Feb. 15, 2012