According to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published Sept. 11 by the Association For Manufacturing Technology, new orders of manufacturing technology totaled $353.9 million in July 2023, a decline of 12.4% from the previous month.
New orders during July were 10.5% lower than July 2022. Year-to-date orders reached $2.83 billion, 12.7% lower than this point last year, according to the report.
“July is typically one of the slower months for manufacturing technology orders, so to be down slightly is not surprising,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “The more interesting trend is that for two consecutive months, the gap in year-to-date orders has narrowed over what have been historically slow months. Job shops have continued to decrease orders, but other industries that have benefited from recent reshoring or government investment have been filling in the gap.”
Among individual sectors, job shops — the largest customer segment — placed their lowest total monthly orders since August 2020. Metal valve manufacturers recorded their third-highest monthly order value on record, which was last surpassed in September 2018. Their monthly orders reached nearly 5% of the total manufacturing technology order value for July 2023, according to the report. Manufacturers of motor vehicle transmissions continued to order machinery at an elevated pace.
The aerospace industry continued to order well below the peaks reached in early 2022, according to the report. Several recently announced initiatives — such as the federal government’s $1.5 billion investment in communications satellites — “could reverse the trend,” the AMT said.
“Manufacturing technology orders have definitely begun to feel the effects of higher interest rates and economic uncertainty, but the buildup of domestic capacity means that there are more diverse sales opportunities than there have been in decades,” said Woods. “That is what has kept manufacturing technology orders well above their historical levels despite the recent downward trend, and it will likely lead the industry out of any mild recession on the horizon.”