US Manufacturing Technology Orders Surge

Kristin Bartschi

Orders for manufacturing technology in August 2021 totaled $560 million, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. August 2021 showed an increase of nearly 20% over July 2021 and 89% over August 2020. The year-to-date total reached $3.55 billion, the highest value through the first eight months of any year since 1998.

The United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) Report is based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTO program. This report, compiled by AMT, provides regional and national U.S. orders data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. 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.

“The August numbers highlight the dramatic rebound from sales in 2020,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “It was the highest level of orders since September 2018 and the sixth highest in the history of USMTO. The consistent growth in orders across industries seen earlier this year was reversed in August when monthly growth across industries ranged from a decline of 16% to growth over 400%.

“The value of orders placed by machine shops was the highest monthly total since September 2014, reflecting OEMs placing more off-shore component business onto their floor in addition to the expansion of their traditional customer base. Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing had a massive increase in orders. Orders from the aerospace sector increased modestly over July 2021 but still lagged behind their pre-pandemic spending. Forecasts expect output from the aerospace sector to increase steadily through 2024, requiring an eventual increase in the volume of orders.” 

AMT analysts have been following the steady downward trend in consumer confidence since its peak in April 2021. Their research indicates the abnormal summer surge in manufacturing technology orders could serve as an economy-wide stabilizer. Capital investment can alleviate the bottlenecks producers are experiencing due to labor supply issues. This can, in turn, reduce the pressure of inflation consumers are feeling by bringing supply and demand closer to alignment. Assuaging consumers’ fears would lead to more demand and could sustain the tidal wave the manufacturing technology industry is currently riding.

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