Machine tool orders increased in March as some companies completed their fiscal year, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (McLean, VA) said in a monthly report.
Orders for the month totaled $407.53 million, a 35% jump from an adjusted $302.27 million in February. March orders also rose 3.3% from $394.54 million in March 2017.
“An increase for the month was expected, since it marked the end of the fiscal year for many companies, but it’s encouraging to see the last two months outpacing their 2016 levels,” Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT, said in an e-mailed statement.
“When manufacturers make investments to boost their capacity and productivity, it’s a good sign for a strengthening manufacturing economy,” he said.
For the first quarter, machine tool orders totaled $961.13 million, a 1.4% decrease from the same period in 2016.
The figures for machine tool orders are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s US Manufacturing Technology Orders program.
The March results are in line with other indicators showing an improvement in manufacturing.
The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI, which measures economic activity in manufacturing, has shown expansion for eight straight months. That index is based on a survey of 350 purchasing and supply executives. Manufacturing employment has also shown improvement the past several months, according to the monthly jobs report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
AMT has been pointing to this spring to be the start of a sustained recovery in machine tool orders.