Machine tool orders cooled in July compared with the previous month but still outpaced 2016 levels.
Orders totaled $319.7 million for the month, down 19% from an adjusted $396.35 million in June, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT; McLean, VA) said in a monthly report.
The July level was still 23% better than the $260.59 million of orders in July 2016, AMT said.
For the first seven months, orders rose 10% to $2.39 billion compared with the same period last year, according to the trade group.
“It is encouraging to see the US manufacturing markets and economy improving, especially when the European and Asian markets are not doing as well,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.
The figures for machine tool orders are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s US Manufacturing Technology Orders program.
The group said improving markets in July included contract machine shops, which typically buy one or two machines at a time, defense, agriculture and medical. AMT said contract machine shops accounted for 32% of July dollar value.
“AMT members noted the marked difference in the start of this summer season,” Pat McGibbon, an AMT vice president, said in the statement. “Usually quotations and leads start to slow in the summer but that has not been the case in 2017.”
Machine tool orders began to slide in mid-2014 amid falling oil prices. Orders improved in the second half of 2016 but a sustained recovery didn’t start until March.
The group said it anticipates the recovery will continue. “AMT is excited about the prospects for 2017 and the possibilities in 2018,” Woods said.