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U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Dip in July but Show Resilience Amid Economic Uncertainty

Hillary Cargo
By Hillary Cargo Senior Editor, SME Media

New orders for manufacturing technology in the United States totaled $353.9 million in July 2023, as per the latest report by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This figure marked a 12.4% decline from June 2023 but remained only 10.5% lower than July 2022. Year-to-date orders amounted to $2.83 billion, reflecting a 12.7% decrease compared to the same period the previous year.

Douglas K. Woods, President of AMT, noted that July is typically a slower month for manufacturing technology orders, so a slight drop was expected. However, he pointed out a notable trend: over the last two months, the year-to-date order gap has narrowed during historically slow periods. While job shops have seen decreased orders, other industries that benefited from reshoring or government investments have helped fill the gap.

Among specific sectors, job shops, the largest customer segment, placed their lowest total monthly orders since August 2020. In contrast, metal valve manufacturers recorded their third-highest monthly order value on record, last seen in September 2018, making up nearly 5% of the total manufacturing technology order value for July 2023. Manufacturers of motor vehicle transmissions continued to order machinery at an elevated pace. However, the aerospace industry continued to order below its early 2022 peaks, with hopes that recent projects like the federal government's $1.5 billion investment in communications satellites might reverse this trend.

Woods acknowledged that manufacturing technology orders have felt the effects of higher interest rates and economic uncertainty. Still, the accumulation of domestic capacity has created diverse sales opportunities, keeping these orders above historical levels despite the recent downward trend. This resilience is expected to help the industry navigate any potential mild recession on the horizon.

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