Mfg. Technology Orders Slid 17% in 2019

December orders surged 24 percent from November, but were still down 8 percent year-over-year.

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MCLEAN, VA — US manufacturing technology orders rose 24 percent in December from the previous month to $404 million, according to the latest US Manufacturing Technology Orders report published by the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). December manufacturing technology orders were the highest in 2019 after March, but down 9 percent from December 2018. The year-end total is $4.5 billion, a decline of 17 percent from the year-end total in 2018. 

“Despite the overall drop in orders in 2019, it was still one of the strongest years in the past five years,” said Douglas Woods, president of AMT. “And in December, our members received orders that manufacturers had put off for most of 2019 due to a lack of confidence and fear of a recession expected in manufacturing in late 2019 or early 2020.”  

Woods continued, “Additionally, manufactured durable goods orders grew at about one percent annually as manufacturers continued to reduce their backlogs, and large investments in 2018 did not lead to drastic drops in capacity utilization during 2019. These facts both indicate that a lot of the activity for December was “catch-up” investments to support current manufacturing levels. December 2019 may have seen a bump in investment activity, but it is still too early to tell if that is the start of a trend. We expect the beginning of 2020 to continue to be slow relative to 2019 levels, but the second half of the year should see an upswing in the market.”

The United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) Report is based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTO program. This report, compiled by the AMT, provides regional and national US orders data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Analysis of manufacturing technology orders provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.

See AMT's December USMTO overview table below:


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