U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $322.5 million in January, a 12% increase from the same month a year ago, according to the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report published Monday by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.
It marked the third straight month of year-over-year gains, a trend not seen since late 2018. But new orders placed in January also marked a 29% decrease from December 2020.
“It is encouraging to see that January was the third straight month of year-over-year gains in manufacturing technology orders,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “The decline from December 2020 was expected, given the unusual strength of that month’s orders. January orders were buoyed by the largest capital equipment investments in forming technology since May 2019. The automotive sector was particularly active, as U.S. auto manufacturers are planning external body styling changes in 2021 that were postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic. The high number of January automotive orders for forming not only reflected orders planned for 2021, but also included orders planned for 2020 that were delayed until 2021.
“Another bright spot was the mold and die sector, which after nearly a two-year decline in monthly orders, has been increasing capacity steadily since May 2020, reflecting the supply chain shifts to domestic producers. We expect that additional actions to reduce supply chain risks will maintain investment in this sector through 2021 and perhaps even be accelerated with President Biden’s executive orders to have agencies evaluate supply chains critical to manufacturing capacity.”