September 2023 Manufacturing Technology Orders Down, Still Above Historical Averages

Year-to-date orders were 13.8% lower than the first three quarters of 2022.

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McLEAN, Va. — New orders of manufacturing technology totaled $398.9 million in September 2023, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published by AMR-The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

September orders declined 2.8% from August 2023 and 23.4% from September 2022. Year-to-date orders reached $3.64 billion, 13.8% lower than the first three quarters of 2022.

“Though 2023 orders are down, activity is still above long-term historical averages, indicating relative health overall,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “We are still seeing strength in key industries, with contract machine shops, medical, and automotive continuing to invest heavily in manufacturing technology.”

Contract machine shops increased order value by nearly a third while units ordered grew by a much smaller degree. Similarly, manufacturers of medical supplies dramatically increased their overall spending. The automotive sector also continued to increase orders. Because of the longer production horizon as well as a sustained increase in demand for new vehicles, automotive manufacturers made capital spending investments despite labor challenges.

“The disparity in manufacturing technology investment across industries indicates that not all are paring back capital spending at once,” said Woods. “Industries that are spending healthily on manufacturing tech appear to be shifting expenditures toward highly automated machinery as evidenced by rising per-unit values.”

Though year-to-date orders have declined compared to a strong 2022, order levels are above historical averages, and there are pockets of strength in several industries. 

“Industries supported by high consumer demand and benefiting from long production timelines continued to be reliable customers of manufacturing technology,” said Woods. “We are detecting a shift in capital goods investment toward improving productivity through adoption of manufacturing technology automation.”

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