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Manufacturing technology orders for December were $443 million, down two percent compared with November and down six percent compared with December 2017. For the full year, manufacturing technology orders reached $5.5 billion, up 19 percent compared with 2017, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology’s (AMT) latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report.
The November-December drop was the fourth time in the USMTO's 23-year history that a year did not end with an uptick in orders from November, according to AMT. And though markets remain healthy, AMT leaders said trade issues and global economic concerns may cause moderating growth in the year ahead.
“We finished a fantastic run up in manufacturing technology orders during 2018, with most analysts looking for good growth in units and modest growth in revenue in 2019,” AMT President Doug Woods said in a statement announcing the December and year-end results. “While our market looks healthy now, there are concerns that trade issues and slower manufacturing technology markets abroad will create headwinds in the U.S. later in the year.”
Geographically, the Northeast and West were the strongest markets in December, according to AMT, with each posting single-digit gains over November levels. AMT also said that while most of the key indicators for manufacturing were not available for December due to the government shutdown, those that were available point to continued growth, but at a slower pace in 2019. The ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index was up 2.3 points to 56.6 in January, for instance, indicating continued expansion in the manufacturing sector.