U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders End 2023 on High Note

New orders for metal cutting, forming and fabricating machinery (manufacturing technology) totaled $491 million in December 2023, up nearly 22% from November and almost 12% year-over-year. That’s according to the monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report (USMTO) published by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

Released Feb. 15, the report said December’s figures outperformed “even the best of expectations,” while charting as the second-highest order level in 2023 and the first month of the year to outperform 2022 order levels.

AMT data showed that full-year manufacturing technology 2023 orders totaled $4.94 billion, 11.2% less than 2022. However, the association noted that orders in 2023 surpassed many predictions, with some of the most pessimistic forecasts projecting the year to fall nearly 20%

Other key takeaways from the December USMTO report:

  • Contract machine shops decreased their 2023 orders just over 21% compared to 2022. AMT: “This customer segment — the largest customer for manufacturing technology — is mostly small-to-medium-sized businesses, so their capital investment tends to be tied to a shorter-term economic outlook. Even with their pullback in orders, 2023 exceeded expectations due to investment from larger OEMs, which tend to operate on much longer production schedules.”
  • Automotive orders in 2023 rose 2% from 2022. AMT: This growth came primarily from manufacturers of automotive transmissions, who made their second-largest investment since 2000, falling short of 2015 by only 1.3%. While a lot of attention has been paid to investments in electric vehicle production lines, such as the one recently announced by Toyota, automakers have also been heavily investing in production lines that make traditional internal combustion engines.
  • Although the aerospace sector’s 2023 orders decreased nearly 9% from 2022, it still recorded its fourth-best year for manufacturing technology orders. AMT: “Despite issues with the Boeing 737 MAX-9 that have dominated news cycles, the aerospace sector decreased orders in 2023 by less than the overall market and is positioned to continue investing in manufacturing technology in 2024.”
  • Manufacturers of ventilation, heating, air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration equipment made the largest investment in manufacturing technology since 2012, increasing orders by over one-third from 2022. AMT: “This investment was likely driven by the massive uptick in new construction that was brought about by recent government legislation and investment, such as the Chips and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

See AMT’s full USMTO release for more information, including why the association believes there are several reasons why manufacturing technology’s 2023 year-ending momentum will carry into 2024.

Source: Association for Manufacturing Technology’s December 2023 U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report, released Feb. 15.


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