McLean, VA -- US manufacturing technology orders inched down in June 2012 as backlogs swell in the supply chain, although there are signals that companies are still confident and optimistic, according to the latest monthly data from the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT).
Companies participating in AMT's United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program reported $462.95 million in manufacturing technology orders in June, down -0.6% from May and -1.8% from a year ago. That's a noticeable slowdown from 14% month-on-month growth in May. Through the first half of the year (January-June), orders to date were up 8.8% from the same period in 2011, to $2.68 billion.
Specifically for metal forming & fabrication orders -- the category in which AMT includes laser tools, along with welding and plasma equipment -- orders in June sunk to $44.44M, declines of roughly -30% both M/M and Y/Y. By region, sales of metal processing tools nearly doubled in the Northeast (to $100.6M) and were up 30% in the West (to $5.36M), but saw big declines in the South (-74% to $6.22M), Midwest ($12.11M, -33.5%), and Central ($10.13M, -27.6%) regions.
Year-to-date, though, sales in this category are up almost 14% to $254.75M.
"Suppliers to technology builders are experiencing a backlog two to three times above normal levels, and consequently growth in manufacturing technology orders has slowed," stated AMT president Douglas K. Woods, though he predicts "a significant uptick in order activity" by the end of September (coinciding with the AMT's International Manufacturing Technology Show [IMTS]). "Along with monthly gains in industrial production, manufacturing payrolls also saw gains for the second consecutive month, an indicator that companies are both confident and optimistic that demand will increase."
Total US manufacturing technology orders through June 2012. (Source: USMTO)