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Machine Tool Orders Decline in August

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders slid in August as the industry’s slump continued.

Orders totaled $297.8 million, down 11.5 percent from an adjusted $336.4 million in July, according to a monthly report from AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, McLean, Va.

Orders were also down 22 percent from $380.4 million in August 2019.

Despite the overall decline, AMT said some sectors were increasing their orders for machine tools.

“More than half of the industries we track experienced month-over-month increases, including appliances, electrical components, and automotive components,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.

The trade group also said the average value of units increased to $175,000 in late summer from $143,000 in the spring.

For the first eight months of 2020, orders totaled $2.3 billion, down 24 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

The figures are from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders program (USMTO).

Manufacturing generally is recovering from factory shutdowns in the first half of the year stemming from efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some industries have fared better than others. The auto industry resumed production in May after adding additional safety procedures and personal protective equipment for workers. Aerospace is in a deep slump after COVID-19 cut demand for air travel and airlines canceled aircraft orders.

“Given the stabilization of prices and the increased demand in so many sectors, we continue to be optimistic that the recovery is moving in the right direction,” Woods said.

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