U.S. manufacturing technology orders increased more than expected in February, up 19.6% from January, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report from the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Orders were up 1.7% year-over-year.
“We anticipated an increase in orders after a soft January, but we are surprised by the strength of the February numbers,” AMT President Douglas K. Woods said in a news release. “What’s even more encouraging is the pickup wasn’t a spike related to any specific industry or region, but rather was broad-based — from Northeast to West as well as everything from aerospace to consumer products. This activity reinforces our projections for a full recovery in manufacturing technology orders by the end of the second quarter.”
While all regions reported growth, the Northeast grew by 41% led by the small arms and aerospace industries. Nationally, aerospace had the largest growth rate, more than doubling January’s total.
There was also surprising strength reported in appliances, medical devices and off-road and highway equipment. The February data is aligned with other key indicators of the manufacturing sector’s health. For example, every component of the March Purchasing Managers Index was up, the Federal Reserve’s manufacturing output data had its best back-to-back monthly increases in three years and durable goods orders and housing starts climbed in February.
Orders for February 2017 totaled $300.51 million, up from January’s $251.36 million. USMTO is a reliable leading economic indicator as manufacturing companies invest in capital metalworking equipment to increase capacity and improve productivity.