US manufacturing technology orders plunged in April, the Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.
Orders totaled $284.1 million for the month, AMT (McLean, VA) said in an e-mailed statement. That’s down 25.5% from March’s adjusted $381.39 million and 27.5% from April 2015’s $391.69 million.
The figures, which include orders of machine tools and related equipment, are based on data reported by companies participating in AMT’s US Manufacturing Technology Orders program.
March had a surge of orders because many makers of machine tools have fiscal years ending on March 31. April didn’t have that tailwind. The month’s results also reflected continued weakness in manufacturing sectors such as oil and natural gas and construction, AMT said.
“We’ll probably slide a little more April through July or August,” said Pat McGibbon, an AMT vice president, said in a telephone interview.
The United States, he said, has a “solid base of aerospace and automotive,” but those sectors are “not moving up or down,” he said.
AMT expects the manufacturing tech market to stabilize toward the end of this year while the “first quarter of ’17 should be pretty good,” McGibbon said.
Before orders start to increase, “You have to have a signal the economy will get better,” he said. “Projections are good. Confidence and (order) backlogs are a little soft.”
For the first four months of 2016, manufacturing technology orders totaled $1.23 billion, down 16.6% from $1.48 billion, AMT said.
AMT’s report continues a pattern of mixed manufacturing economic indicators.
The Institute for Supply Management said June 1 that the US manufacturing economy expanded in May for a third straight month, helped by output and new orders. However, the group said employment continued to contract.
The latter point was reinforced two days later when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 10,000 manufacturing jobs were cut in May, with makers of durable goods paring 18,000 jobs. Manufacturing was a major drag on US job creation last month, when only 38,000 new non-farm jobs were created.