The Association For Manufacturing Technology’s latest report said that U.S. manufacturing technology orders continued to rise in March, increasing 42% month-over-month and 23% compared to March 2017. Overall, orders totaled $509 million in March, bringing the year-to-date total to $1.2 billion.
“The strong growth in the U.S. manufacturing technology market echoes similar growth in both European and Asian MT markets, leading to increased pressure on the supply chain and longer lead times for new machine builds. Our members have been getting more orders than they can fill and customers are turning to used equipment to fulfill their needs,” said Doug Woods, president of AMT. “While this signals strong activity in the manufacturing industry, the potential impact for tariffs to impede market growth is adding an element of uncertainty and concern.”
In March, every region experienced an increase in orders, with the Northeast showing the lowest gain at 3.15%. The Southeast increased the most with a 120% month-over-month jump, returning to a strong growth trajectory after a weaker than expected February. Meanwhile, the order rates in the North Central-West region grew more than 71% because of booming growth in the off-road, mining, construction and recreational vehicle markets. The South Central region had growth due to the automotive and job shop sectors but could vault up even further with continued recovery in the energy sector.
Industrial segments showed uniformly strong double-digit growth, led by aerospace and forging markets that had month-over-month growth rates in the triple digits.
General economic indicators that lead the manufacturing technology market also continue to be positive. Capacity utilization is above 76 for March, breaking through the ceiling of 75 that had been its cap for more than a year. The PMI is at nearly 60 and consumer sentiment is over 101, marking just the third time it has broken 100 in the past 15 years.
“Consumers continue to drive this recovery and their increased demand is putting a strain on the supply chain,” said Pat McGibbon, AMT’s vice president of Strategic Analytics. “That demand will continue to sustain growth in the manufacturing technology market for the rest of the year.”
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