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Machine Tool Orders Surge in May

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders rose in May both on a monthly and year-over-year basis, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.

Orders totaled $448.1 million in May, McLean, Va.-based AMT said in a monthly report. That was up 11 percent from an adjusted $404.1 million the month before and almost double from $224.7 million in May 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the economy during the year-earlier period.

“Given the state of the economy last year, orders were expected to be up, but so far, 2021 is shaping up to be a historic year,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.

For the first five months of 2021, orders totaled $2.02 billion, a 50 percent gain from the same period in 2020.

“In only three other years since 1998 have orders surpassed $2 billion by May,” Woods said. “Manufacturers across the industry have expressed broadly positive sentiment, so we would expect the remainder of the year not only to return to the pre-pandemic trend but also to exceed previous forecasts.”

COVID-19 hit the U.S. economy starting in March 2020. Later in the year, demand rebounded for some products such as motor vehicles. A recovery has been slower in industries such as aerospace.

AMT members “have reported that automation and new-tech sales continued to grow or barely saw a pause in order levels,” Woods said.

The figures in the monthly report are from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders program.

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