Mfg. Technology Orders Sunk in 2nd Half of March

Orders were fairly robust in the first half of March before volume rapidly decelerated once stay-at-home orders took place.

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MCLEAN, VA — US manufacturing technology orders increased 8 percent in March from the previous month to $301.2 million, according to the latest US Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO report published by the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

New orders were 29.3 percent lower than in March 2019. Total orders through March 2020 were $863 million, 26.1 percent lower than year-to-date 2019 orders.

"We were anticipating an increase in orders from February since many companies’ fiscal years end in March, which typically drives up orders,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “Yet while orders in the first half of March were fairly robust, order volume decelerated rapidly in the second half of the month as stay-at-home orders were put into place  

"Going forward, we expect April and May orders to be significantly impacted by the inability of salespeople to meet with new prospects and visit customers’ facilities. While videoconferencing is productive in some situations, it cannot effectively substitute for face-to-face meetings with customers at their facilities. 

"This drop-off in quotations is most visible in the contracting machining sector, which represents nearly a third of the manufacturing technology customer base and is seeing a 70-80 percent drop in new quotation activity. If this rate of decline is representative of other key sectors, then much of the industry can expect a large drop-off in order volumes in the second and third quarters. Bucking the downward trend are defense, space, and medical equipment – and there are encouraging signs that automotive is slowing scaling back up as well."

See AMT's March USMTO regional breakdown below, and the full March report here.


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