US manufacturing orders totaled $473.92 million in May, a 14.5% increase from the prior month and up 19% from the same period a year ago, according to the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT) citing its United States Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program. That puts the total of orders through the first five months of 2012 at more than $2.23 billion, up 12.1% compared with the same period in 2011.
"The latest USMTO figures indicate both sound health and continued expansion in durable goods manufacturing," a position supported by other economic indicators including an upward revision in housing starts and strong durable goods orders, stated AMT President Douglas K. Woods. "While the latest PMI saw a slight dip, overall indications are that manufacturing will continue to lead the way in the general economy."
Growth during May was led by the South region ($77.67 million, 60.3% M/M), while the Midwest ($153.17M, 19.8%) and West ($44.54M, 17.0%) regions also enjoyed double-digit growth. The Central region ($134.85M, 2.3%) managed to nudge ahead, while the Northeast region ($63.68M, -6.0%) slipped a bit.
Looking specifically at metal forming & fabrication -- in which AMT includes laser tools, along with welding and plasma equipment -- US tool orders were up strongly in May by 55% to $65.86M. That growth was thanks mainly to the South region, which surged an eye-popping 500% to $24.07M in May -- making up nearly 50% of total tool sales in that region, up from barely 10% both in April 2012 and May 2011. The Midwest ($18.18M, 16.9%) and Central ($13.99M, 12.6%) enjoyed double-digit growth in metal forming/fabrication, while the Northeast ($5.49M, -8.9%) and West ($4.11M, -5.5%) regions actually saw a decline.
Total US manufacturing technology orders through May 2012. (Source: USMTO)