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Manufacturing Tech Orders Surge on Monthly Basis, Fall From a Year Earlier

By Bill Koenig
Senior Editor

US manufacturing technology orders surged on a monthly basis in March but were still down compared to the same month last year, the Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.

Orders totaled $370.98 million in March, the association said in an e-mailed statement. That was up 36.9% from February’s adjusted $271.01 million. At the same time, March’s results were 11.8% lower than the $420.79 million in March 2015.

The figures, which include orders of machine tools and related equipment, are based on data reported by companies participating in AMT’s US Manufacturing Technology Orders program.

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AMT said many manufacturing tech companies end their fiscal years on March 31, which increased sales activity.

The group said the outlook for such sales is flat. AMT’s president, Douglas K. Woods, said in the statement there is “a softer market that’s likely to last into the fourth quarter.”

Last month, at an AMT event, Oxford Economics said a recovery in orders for machine tools would be pushed back into 2017. Its previous forecast was for sales to begin increasing in the fall of 2016.

For 2016’s first quarter, manufacturing tech orders totaled $922.67 million, down 15% from the $1.09 billion for the same period last year.

The AMT report reinforces how manufacturing has trailed other parts of the US economy and current economic indicators are mixed.

Last week, the Institute for Supply Management said the manufacturing economy grew in April for a second straight month, but had cooled down from March. The main bright spots were new orders and production.

US manufacturers added 4000 jobs in April, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week. That gain was due primarily to the auto industry, which added 6100 jobs. The April gain compared with a loss of 29,000 manufacturing jobs in March.

Published Date : 5/9/2016

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