Orders for Machine Tools Cool in June as Industry Sees Typical Summer Swoon
Author(s): Josh Cable
Aug. 12, 2013
The U.S. market for machine tools and related manufacturing technologies cooled off in June, according to the most recent data from the Association for Manufacturing Technology.
Manufacturing-technology orders totaled $426.8 million in June, down 5.8 percent from May and down 5.7 percent year-over-year.
Through the first six months of 2013, total orders were down 5.7 percent year-over-year to $2.5 billion.
"It's typical for orders to experience a modest drop going into the summer months, and we've seen this lull in six of the past nine summers," said Douglas Woods, president of the Association for Manufacturing Technology. "It's important to remember that in the overall picture, this is a very strong order level."
The numbers, which come from the association's member companies, can serve as "a reliable leading economic indicator, as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity," the association said in a news release.
If that's the case, the outlook for the U.S. economy is decent.
"Manufacturing is still the key area driving the economy. With durable-goods orders at a record level of $244 billion in June, and the purchasing managers index at 55, we expect manufacturing-technology orders to hold steady through the end of the year," Woods said.
The association defines manufacturing technology as "the tools that enable production of all manufactured goods." The category includes "non-portable, power-driven manufacturing machinery" such as stamping and hydro-forming presses; tooling such as drills, dies and grinding wheels; and related technologies such as CAD software.