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Machine Tool Orders Rise in October

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders rose in October on a monthly basis, helped by industries including automotive and rail, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.

Orders totaled $383.8 million in October, according to a monthly report. That was a 3.7 percent gain from an adjusted $370.1 million in September.

The October figure was the largest order amount since December 2019, McLean, Va.-based AMT said. Orders fell 1.9 percent from $391.4 million in October 2019.

“All metrics point to a continuation of economic recovery in the manufacturing sector,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.

Woods said the machine tool industry is benefiting from “large investments in capital equipment in the automotive sector” because of development of electric and hybrid vehicles. The rail industry also is refurbishing “both rail cars and infrastructure,” he said.

Also boosting orders is the tool and die sector, Woods said. October was the second straight month with order increases, according to AMT.

For the first 10 months, orders totaled $3.07 billion, down 20 percent from the same period last year. The figures are from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders program.

The machine tool sector was hammered earlier this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. Factories were closed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Plants in the auto industry began to reopen in May and have been boosting output.

The aerospace industry has lagged. Demand for air travel has declined because of COVID-19. Boeing Co. has said it plans additional job cuts in 2021 because of lessened demand for aircraft. The oil and gas sector also has been hit by lower energy demand.

 “We do not foresee any significant uptick in growth in either sector in the foreseeable future,” Woods said.

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