Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 11. January 2016

Machine Tool Orders - Big Jump in Average Price

In November, machine tool sales were 1,753 units and $319,381,000. This was slightly more dollar orders than last month on more than 300 fewer units. Therefore, the average price of a machine increased to $182,000. This was above the historical average and the highest average price since January 2015. Generally, the average price begins to rise before unit orders start increasing.

Other than October, in three of the last four months unit orders were in the low to mid 1700s. This was below the historic monthly average of 1,883 units. Compared with one yearo ago, unit orders were down 14.7 percent. The month-over-month rate of change contracted for the seventh month in a row. The annual rate of change contracted for the third month in a row. However, the annual rate of contraction, which was 9.9% in Noveber, was virtually unchanged from the previous two months. The contraction is as expected according to our revised forecast from six months ago.

Real dollar sales were the historic average for the fifth straight month. Compared with one year ago, dollar sales contracted 15.1 percent. This was the seventh consecutive month that dollar orders have contracted. The annual rate of change has contracted for six straight months. In November, it was -16.1 percent, which was the same as last month.

The West region has performed quite poorly the last three months. Both unit and dollar sales have contracted significantly, and more than the national average, compared with one year ago.

The South Central remained very weak because of low oil prices. However, the average price spiked to $251,000, which was 11.0 percent higher than one year ago, well above the historic average for the region and the second highest average price for the region since August 2011.

Like the West, the North Central-West has been quite weak the last three months. Percent declines in units and dollars have been worse than the national average. Also, the average price of machine was below the historic average for the region for the second straight month.

The North Central-East saw unit orders increase 9.6 percent compared with last November. Also, dollar sales increased 0.9 percent compared with one year ago. It and the Northeast were the only regions to record increases in both unit and dollars in November. The average price has been significantly above average the last two months.

The Southeast has been one of the stronger regions in 2015, but compared with one year ago unit and dollar sales contracted for the second time in three months. 

In the Northeast, unit sales increased 3.4 percent compared with one year ago. But, dollar sales were up a huge 68.5 percent. The average price skyrocketed to $212,000, nearly 33 percent above the historic average. 

You can find more on machine tool sales and the leading indicators on our metalworking and monetary pages.

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