Though December numbers were down year-over-year, an 18% boost from November pushed 2012 U.S. manufacturing technology orders to their highest levels since 1996, according to the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).
Orders totaled almost $500 million in December. Though this is down more than 9% from the $550 million reported in December 2011, it gives 2012 a year-end total of $5.7 billion, up 2.6% compared with 2011.
Douglas Woods, AMT's president, points to a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing. "This also shows the resilience of the industry in the face of GDP contraction in the fourth quarter, along with fiscal and political concerns that have been overshadowing much of the general economy."
Regionally, it was the South that showed the greatest rise in manufacturing technology orders in 2012 — the full-year total up more than 12% over 2011. The Midwest saw only a negligible gain of 1% over the previous year. Most regions, however, tell similar stories: historical rises in year-end totals despite December numbers being down from December 2011. Only the Western region saw a year-over-year rise in December, with almost 7% higher numbers than December 2011.