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U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Show Resilience Amidst September Decline

by Anna

In September 2023, new orders for manufacturing technology in the United States totaled $398.9 million, as reported by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology in its latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report.

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The data reveals a 2.8% decline in orders from August 2023 and a more significant drop of 23.4% compared to September 2022. Year-to-date orders amounted to $3.64 billion, marking a 13.8% decrease from the first three quarters of the previous year.

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Despite the decrease in orders for 2023, the overall activity remains above long-term historical averages, signaling relative health in the manufacturing sector, according to Douglas K. Woods, the president of AMT. He noted, “We are still seeing strength in key industries, with contract machine shops, medical, and automotive continuing to invest heavily in manufacturing technology.”

Specifically, contract machine shops demonstrated a notable increase in order value by almost a third, although the growth in units ordered was more modest. Similarly, manufacturers of medical supplies significantly boosted their overall spending during this period.

The automotive sector also saw a continued upward trend in orders. Despite labor challenges, automotive manufacturers made capital spending investments, attributed to both an extended production horizon and sustained demand for new vehicles.

Douglas K. Woods highlighted the disparity in manufacturing technology investment across industries, noting, “Industries that are spending healthily on manufacturing tech appear to be shifting expenditures toward highly automated machinery, as evidenced by rising per-unit values.”

While year-to-date orders have dipped in comparison to a robust 2022, the order levels remain above historical averages, indicating pockets of strength in various industries.

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

In conclusion, the latest data on manufacturing technology orders suggests a nuanced landscape, with certain sectors resilient in their investments despite an overall decrease. The industry’s ability to remain above historical averages indicates a strategic shift toward automation and a focus on productivity enhancement amid changing economic dynamics.

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