Machine tool orders declined 2.4% in November from the previous month, a sign that a sustained recovery is not yet a reality.
Orders totaled $329.6 million, down from a revised $337.58 million in October, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (McLean, VA) said in a monthly report. The November result also was down 1.3% from the $334.09 million in November 2015.
AMT, in the report, emphasized that orders for machine tools and related equipment have improved toward the end of 2016 compared with earlier in the year.
“Bookings for the last few months of the year were better than expected and early input on January is very promising,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in an e-mailed statement. He cited improvement “in the aerospace and job shop sectors.”
For the first 11 months of 2016, orders totaled $3.58 billion, down 5.1% for the same period in 2015. Orders for the first six months, by contrast, plunged 16% compared with 2015’s first half. The deficit narrowed in later months, helped by AMT’s mammoth IMTS trade show in September.
The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s US Manufacturing Technology Orders program.
AMT has said a sustained recovery may begin in April or May.
“We are seeing improvements in the overall economy, with post-election business confidence on the rise,” Woods said in the statement.
Last week, the Institute for Supply Management (Tempe, AZ) said its PMI, which measures economic activity in manufacturing, reached a two-year high in December. The index, based on information from supply managers, was 54.7% for the month. A PMI above 50% indicates economic growth. Manufacturers also added 17,000 jobs in December, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said Jan. 6.