May Metalworking Machinery Orders Jump 22% - Modern Distribution Management

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May Metalworking Machinery Orders Jump 22%

It was a major monthly rebound from April's 25.6% decline.
cutting tool consumption

New orders for metal cutting, forming and fabricating machinery (manufacturing technology) totaled $386.7 million during May 2024, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology’s monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report (USMTO).

That total was up 21.8% vs. April, and up 6.5% year-over-year.

It marked a stark improvement following April’s 25.6% monthly decline.

Year-to-date, orders through May totaled $1.8 billion, down 12.2% from the first five months of 2023.

“Manufacturers have started to realize they can no longer outwait the Fed’s “higher for longer” interest rate strategy,” AMT’s May report stated, released July 8. “As a result, they are beginning to increase capital equipment purchases to meet the sustained demand for goods and machinery from consumers and businesses even as high interest rates persist.”

The association added that despite 2024’s mild slump in machinery orders compared to the beginning of 2023, cutting tool orders show 2024 consumption holding steady at record levels. This indicates, said AMT, that despite reported hesitation to invest in additional machinery, production levels remain at an elevated pace.

The May USMTO report also shared the following:  

  • Contract machine shops — the largest customer of manufacturing technology — increased their orders from April to May 2024 but significantly less than the industry’s overall growth. While some OEMs have made additional investments despite heightened interest rates, contract machine shops have consistently failed to keep pace with the overall market throughout 2024.
  • Electrical equipment manufacturers are having the best start to the year since the record-setting start of 2022. Similarly, manufacturers of power generation and transmission equipment are investing at the second-highest year-to-date rate since 2008. 
  • The automotive sector continued to purchase machinery but at a much slower pace than the previous two years. Vehicle assemblies increased in May 2024 and remain above the average monthly level for this year.

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