Manufacturing technology orders saw year-over-year gains for the third consecutive month in October 2016, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Report from AMT - The Association for Manufacturing Technology. Orders for the month were valued at $335.48 million, up 0.2 percent compared to the same month last year. Year-to-date, orders are down 5.6 percent compared to the same point in 2015.
Orders have begun to emerge gradually from the trough seen through most of 2016, and other signs indicate that the manufacturing economy is improving, albeit slowly. Housing starts grew 25.5 percent in October, a good sign for manufacturers who make appliances, cars and electronics. Additionally, the November 2016 PMI from the Institute for Supply Management was 53.2, indicating expansion in manufacturing, and factory output improved slightly in October. However, global trade remains largely stagnant.
"It's certainly welcome to see signs of recovery for manufacturing overall, but marked improvement for manufacturing technology orders is not forecast until the second quarter of 2017," said AMT President Douglas K. Woods. "Unless manufacturers feel pressed on capacity, they aren't likely to make substantial capital investments in machinery and equipment. Those signs of gradual improvement and increased utilization rates are emerging, albeit slowly."
Month over month, order value dropped 32.9 percent compared to September 2016, which accounted for high order volume generated by IMTS - The International Manufacturing Technology Show. Year-to-date orders for 2016 stand at $3,244.07 million. USMTO data is a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing companies invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.