After a 36.9 percent growth in March 2016, manufacturing technology orders in April dropped 25.5% compared to March 2016 according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report compiled by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.
In fact, manufacturing technology orders for April 2016 were down 27.5% from the same month a year ago, while year to date, orders are down 16.6% compared to the same point in 2015.
Sluggish manufacturing economy affecting technology orders
“The current conditions for manufacturing technology providers are a reflection of larger stagnation in manufacturing and the overall economy – some industries are performing well, and others are struggling,” said AMT President Douglas K. Woods. “Automotive and aerospace, which mitigated the market decline for the last 15 months of the current downturn, continue to hold their own but they aren’t growing. Some industries are growing, such as consumer electronics, firearms, and medical, but those represent only 12 percent of our overall market. Weakness continues in the oil and gas and construction/off-road industries.”
Upswing still expected
Industry forecasters continue to anticipate an upswing in business in the fourth quarter; however, the current market downturn was more than forecasters had expected. AMT member companies report strong levels of quotation activity, but longer conversion rates for order placement. Manufacturing companies are resistant to make investments in capital equipment out of a sense of caution.
April 2016 manufacturing technology orders were valued at $284.10 million, compared to $391.69 million in April 2015. Year to date, total orders stand at $1,230.94 million, compared to $1,476.42 at the same point the previous year. USMTO data is a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing companies invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.