Machine tool orders rose on a monthly basis in July but were down compared with a year earlier.
Orders totaled $383.74 million in July, McLean, Va.-based Association for Manufacturing Technology, said in a monthly report. That was a 7.1 percent improvement from an adjusted $358.39 million in June.
However, the July orders level was 5.1 percent below the $404.21 million for July 2018.
The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.
Job shops “accounted for nearly a third more of total orders than in 2018,” Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT, said in a statement.
“Clearly other larger manufacturers are putting off capex (capital expenditures) and addressing capacity needs by outsourcing production shortfalls with job shops,” he added. “We suspect the impetus is the uncertainty with the current market and future economic conditions.”
A protracted U.S.-China trade war has been a drag on the economy. The conflict shows no signs of easing as each country levies tariffs on the other. Tariffs are paid by importers, who usually pass the cost onto customers. Tariffs are not payments from one country to another.
For the first seven months, machine tool orders totaled $2.64 billion, down 12 percent from $2.98 billion for the same period in 2018.
The year-to-date comparisons will get tougher as 2019 progresses. In 2018, September orders were bolstered by the annual IMTS trade show run by AMT.