Manufacturers spent $372 million on machine tools in August, a 5 percent increase over July, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology.
Although the August 2013 numbers came in 18 percent lower than August 2012 – the U.S. machine-tool market is down 8 percent year-to-date – the association is "finding many reasons for optimism within the manufacturing economy."
"In addition to the monthly gain for [the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report], the latest Purchasing Managers Index was at 56.2, its highest reading in more than two years," said Douglas Woods, president of the Association for Manufacturing Technology.
"Because of manufacturing's international connectivity, we also welcome the improvements seen in the global markets in Europe and Asia. These gains are expected to continue for U.S. manufacturing as we head toward 2014, but all of this hinges on avoiding a government-induced economic derailment."
Through August, U.S. orders for machine tools and related manufacturing technologies totaled $3.1 billion, according to the association.
The association noted that "analysis of manufacturing-technology orders provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity."