US manufacturing orders racing to best start since 1998

US manufacturing technology orders for metal cutting, forming, and fabrication continued to rise in February 2012, up 9 percent from January and 35 percent from a year ago, and are on a growth pace not seen in 14 years, according to data from the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

Companies reporting to the AMT's U.S. Manufacturing Technology Order (USMTO) report totaled $444.06 million in February, vs. $406.34 million in January and $328.44 million in Feb. 2011. The Southeast region was by far the hottest segment in Feb. 2012, enjoying 45 percent growth from January. The larger demand regions of the Midwest ($164.43 million, 14.1 percent growth) and Central US ($132.21 million, 1.9 percent) also saw growth, while the Northeast region slipped slightly (-5.7 percent) to $53.14 million.

Two months into 2012, year-to-date orders stand at $850.40 million, up a sparkling 21.7 percent from the first two months in 2011. "Manufacturing technology orders are off to their best start since 1998," stated AMT President Douglas K. Woods, citing companies' continued interest in automation and technologies to increase productivity and global competitiveness.

That echoes what Industrial Laser Solutions has been tracking -- that the US manufacturing sector is healthier than some cursory macroeconomic glances might believe, on the heels of a record year in 2011 that was difficult for many other industries.


Total US manufacturing technology orders, in US$ thousands. Data for metal forming
and fabricating includes laser, welding, and plasma equipment. (Source: AMT/USMTO)

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