U.S. manufacturers’ new orders for metal cutting and metal forming/fabricating equipment declined just 1.4%, from April to May, to $277.74 million. After weak manufacturing demand for much of the past two years, the narrowness of the decline is encouraging machine tool-builders’ hopes of recovery.
However, the May result is the lowest monthly new-order volume of the current year (and the lowest month total for machine tool orders in over two years), and the total continues to trail the results of last year. The May total shows an 18.2% decline versus the May 2015 figure. Similarly, the May result brings the year-to-date total for manufacturing technology orders to $1,512,260, which is 16.7% lower than the January-May 2015 total.
These figures are drawn from the monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report issued by AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology. The USMTO report summarizes actual totals for machine tool orders reported by participating companies that produce and distribute metal-cutting and metal-forming and –fabricating equipment, including domestically manufactured and imported machinery and equipment.
USMTO is used as a forward-looking indicator of manufacturing capital investment, similar to the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) — as companies place orders for new equipment to increase capacity and to improve current capabilities.
“Overall we are seeing improved sentiment from manufacturing technology providers, as certain key industry sectors are indicating signs of growth – in particular agriculture, which has been stagnant for an extended period, and a resurgent aerospace industry,” stated AMT president Douglas K. Woods.