Machine tool orders posted a small gain in October, helped by a boost from machine shops and the auto industry, according to a monthly report
Orders totaled $376 million, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said. That was a 2.1 percent gain from an adjusted $368.4 million for September.
That was the positive number of the report.
The October figure slid 21 percent compared with the $473.8 million for October 2018, a period when business remained hot following the 2018 IMTS show in Chicago the previous month.
The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.
“Since March, job shops have accounted for an unusually large share of orders, reflecting the fact that large players deflected capital spending decisions,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.
Woods said the trend began to change in October, with larger companies beginning to place orders. November and December results should reflect more business from big companies, he said.
For the first 10 months, orders totaled $3.74 billion, an 18 percent decline from the same period in 2018.
Orders were strong for most of last year. Activity has cooled in 2019. In part, that reflects trade tensions, including an unresolved U.S.-China trade war.
“It’s clear that a lack of stability in the market coupled with the shifting winds on trade issues are dampening U.S. manufacturers’ enthusiasm for investing in new capital equipment,” Woods said.