Machine tool orders fell slightly in August on a monthly basis but posted a strong gain compared with a year ago, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT; McLean, VA) said in a monthly report.
Orders totaled $399.34 million for the month, AMT said. That was down 3% from an adjusted $411.85 million in July. However, the August figure represented a 20% gain from orders totaling $333.56 million in August 2017.
“The current growth rate in manufacturing technology orders is outstanding in the face of market uncertainty due to trade tensions,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement. “This unusual strength during the summer months reflects the market’s confidence in the continued growth in manufacturing.”
The Trump administration is waging a trade war with China which shows no signs of ending. There are also trade tensions between the U.S. and the European Union.
On the other hand, the administration has a tentative trade accord with Mexico and Canada. That pact, essentially, would update the North American Free Trade Agreement. If enacted, the new trade agreement would have a new name. Trump harshly criticized NAFTA while campaigning for president.
For the first eight months, machine tool orders totaled $2.95 billion, AMT said. That’s a 22% surge from $2.41 billion for the same period in 2017.
AMT said in its statement that year-over-year gains in orders have been widespread “but precision machines, such as EDM’s, precision grinding, metrology and laser equipment, have experienced better than average growth during the past month.”
The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.
The machine tool industry has enjoyed a sustained economic recovery since the spring of 2017. September orders, to be reported next month, will reflect a boost with the mammoth IMTS trade show held in Chicago last month. AMT organizes the show, which is held every other year.