Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 14. October 2019

Machine Tool Unit Orders Less Than 2,000 for Three out of Four Months

August machine tool orders were 1,875 units and $360,687,000.

Unit orders for the month contracted 31.8% compared with one year ago, marking contraction for the seventh straight month and eight of the last nine months. The large month-over-month contraction was expected as last August’s unit orders set a record in the lead up to IMTS. In the Southeast, unit orders contracted just 8.2% while they contracted 54.7% in the North Central-West. Annually, unit orders contracted at an accelerating rate for the second month in a row.

Dollar orders contracted 27.3% compared with one year ago, mirroring unit orders by contracting for the seventh straight month and eight of the last nine months. Dollar orders in the Northeast actually grew 14.8% and 2.4% in the Southeast. However, the North Central-West and South Central contracted 57.4% and 46.3%, respectively. Annually, dollar orders contracted at an accelerating rate of the third straight month.

The GBI: Metalworking has been a negative leading indicator for future machine tool orders for a number of months. It is likely that machine tool orders will see an annual rate of contraction next month and that orders will contract overall in 2020. However, IMTS, taking place in September 2020, tends to be a turning point for machine tools and could be the point at which the rate of contraction bottoms next year.

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