Monthly Machining Unit Orders Dip, but Value Has Long-Awaited YoY Rise

The number of November orders fell 12.8 percent from October, but their value was up year-over-year for the first time since January 2019.

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US manufacturing technology orders totaled $330.3 million in November 2020, a decrease of 13.3 percent from October, but an increase of 1.4 percent from November 2019, the first positive year-over-year change since January 2019, according to the latest US Manufacturing Technology Orders report published by the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Year-to-date orders totaled $3.39 billion, a decrease of 18.7 percent from the first 11 months of 2019.

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“Given the dire predictions about economic contraction in the manufacturing sector at the beginning of the pandemic, an 18.7 percent contraction in growth year-to-date, with only one month to go, makes clear that the sector did not fare as poorly as originally predicted,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “The share of total orders from job shops increased in November. This could be due to larger manufacturers and OEMs delaying investments in capital equipment until 2021 when they can expense these investments against expected higher tax rates.” 

“Despite overall positive momentum in the past several months, December is not expected to be quite as strong as November for several reasons. Many facilities closed earlier or for longer than usual for the holidays because of supply-chain related delays, COVID-related staff shortages, and to regroup for 2021 after an overall challenging year.” 

“Orders in January are expected to pick up again but will likely experience inconsistent growth as increased economic demand is hampered by disruptions in workforce due to quarantines and restrictions, imported components supply chain issues, and overloaded rigging and freight providers. As we move forward in 2021, disruptions will become less severe and order levels will more closely resemble 2019 activity.”

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