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More Signs of Manufacturing Improvement

Machine tool order values were up by 16 percent in November, according to trade group data.

Aw 873 Mfg General

Another indicator of an improving U.S. manufacturing economy came this week with word that new orders for machine tools and related equipment grew by 16 percent in November 2009 compared to the previous month.

November U.S. manufacturing technology consumption totaled $178.8 million, according to a Jan. 11 press release from the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA, and The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT, While this total—as reported by companies participating in the United States Manufacturing Technology Consumption (USMTC) program—was up by 16 percent from October, it represents a 16.2 decline from the total of $213.5 million reported for November 2008. With a year-to-date total of $1.553 billion, 2009 is down 63.4 percent compared with 2008, the two groups said.

These numbers and all data in the report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program. The report includes orders for both metal cutting machines, and metal forming and fabricating machines.

Great news

“The three month upward trend in manufacturing technology order values is great news for the industry and the country, despite unit levels stubbornly hovering around 1,000,” said Peter Borden, AMTDA president. “As we turn the calendar and our attention to 2010, we’re hopeful that Washington will pass legislation allowing American manufacturing to rebuild not only its employment levels and backlogs, but also to improve our balance of trade and our country’s economy.”

Release of the USMTC data follows a Jan. 4 report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM, citing a fifth consecutive month of expansion in the manufacturing sector in December last year (

The USMTC report, jointly compiled by the two trade associations representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national U.S. consumption data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Analysis of manufacturing technology consumption provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity, the two organizations said.

U.S. manufacturing technology consumption is also reported on a regional basis for five geographic breakdowns of the United States, and is available on the Web sites of both trade groups.

American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association

The Association For Manufacturing Technology

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