US Manufacturing Technology Orders Hit 10-Year Low in April

In the height of pandemic business impacts, orders sunk 26 percent from March and were down a whopping 39 percent year-over-year.

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MCLEAN, VA — U.S. manufacturing technology orders decreased 26 percent in April from the previous month to $225.8 million, the lowest monthly total since May 2010, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report published by the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). New orders were 39 percent lower than in April 2019. Total orders through April 2020 were just shy of $1.1 billion, 28 percent lower than 2019 orders during the same period.

“It should not come as a surprise that April numbers were low given the large-scale shut down of the global economy,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “Data confirms that U.S. industrial production dropped lower than during even the Great Depression. 

“The encouraging news is that we are seeing an uptick in May MT orders. The aerospace and automotive sectors have begun retooling and are placing orders for new equipment to ramp up production in the fall. Some MT orders are being delayed, but we are not seeing any cancellations; in fact, April cancellations were lower than the 2019 average.   

“2020 will still be a down year for MT orders, and we think it is likely that manufacturing will experience uneven growth for the next several quarters. Oxford Economics has forecast a 50 percent decline in machine tool orders in 2020 (from 2019), and while they have also forecast a robust 84-plus percent increase in MT orders in 2021, this is still a 10 percent decline from where the industry stood before the pandemic. Consumer confidence, capacity utilization, and the unemployment rate are the key indicators that we will keep our eyes on as they chart future performance.”  

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

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