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Machine Tool Orders in October Surge Compared With 2020

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders in October soared compared with a year earlier, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.

The McLean, Va.-based group also said orders for the August through October period were the highest in 23 years.

Orders in October totaled $571.5 million, AMT said. That was down 3.6 percent from an adjusted $593 million in September. However, October orders were up 50 percent from $380.6 million in October 2020.

For the first 10 months of 2021, orders totaled $4.67 billion, an increase of 52.5 percent from the same period last year. AMT said orders for August-October totaled $1.7 billion, the highest amount since early 1998.

In the latter part of 2020, the machine tool industry was recovering from disruptions earlier in the year caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first half of last year saw plant shutdowns in some industries as new safety procedures were implemented.

“The manufacturing technology market is flourishing in the current economic environment,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.

At the same time, Woods said the machine tool industry faces challenges.

“Our members are caught between higher material, component, and transportation costs and a customer base that is resisting price increases,” Woods said.

The AMT official expressed concern the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates to slow down inflation.

The consumer price index rose 0.8 percent in November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Dec. 10. Over the past 12 months, inflation has run at a rate of 6.8 percent, the highest since 1982.

“I believe it would be counterproductive to tighten monetary policies and raise the cost of expanding capacity at a time when our nation is experiencing an unparalleled supply chain disruption,” Woods said.

AMT disclosed the figures in a monthly report. The information is from companies participating in the organization’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program. 

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