Machine tool consumption in theU.S. was up 44% in 2004 over the previous year, with a year-end total of $3.0 billion. December U.S. machine tool consumption totaled $314.47 million, according to the Association For Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program, was up 9.8% from November and up 41.4% from the total of $222.36 million reported for December 2003. These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals of actual data reported by companies participating in the USMTC program. [IMGCAP(1)] "Investment in new machine tools during 2004 was strong, up 44 percent over 2003," said John B. Byrd III, AMT President. "December's spike in orders illustrates the incentive for renewing our productive assets created by the 50 percent expensing allowance. Allowing it to expire at the end of 2004 will damage American manufacturers' ability to remain competitive in an increasingly cost-conscious environment." The United States Machine Tool Consumption (USMTC) report, jointly compiled by the two trade associations representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national U.S. consumption data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. Analysis of machine tool consumption provides a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing industries invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity. U.S. machine tool consumption is also reported on a regional basis for five geographic break-downs of the United States. Northeast Region Totaling $44.60 million, December Northeast Region machine tool consumption was 22.1% higher than November's $36.54 million and 52.7% ahead of December a year ago. The year-end total of $447.67 million was 60.2% higher than the comparable figure in 2003. Southern Region Southern Region machine tool consumption in December rose to $55.33 million, 13.6% ahead of November's $48.69 million and 69.1% higher than the total in December 2003. The year-end total of $455.17 million was up 16.3% compared to year-end 2003. Midwestern Region At $119.43 million, Midwestern Region machine tool consumption in December was up 17.8% from November's $101.36 million and 32.6% higher than the total for last December. With a year-end total of $1,162.85 million, 2004 moved up 39.6% compared to 2003. Central Region December machine tool consumption in the Central Region stood at $53.43 million, down 12.4% compared to November's $61.00 million, but up 41.3% when compared to December a year ago. With a year-end total of $548.14 million, 2004 was up 48.3% compared to 2003. Western Region Western Region machine tool consumption in December totaled $41.67 million, up 7.6% from November's $38.72 million and up 28.1% compared to December a year ago. At $386.75 million, the year-end total for 2004 was 78.9% higher than the comparable figure a year ago.