December U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $506.89 million according to AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was up 32.7% from November and up 4.7% when compared with the total of $484.08 million reported for December 2013. With a year-to-date total of $5,079.05 million, 2014 was up 3.1% compared with 2013.
“The momentum we saw in manufacturing toward the end of 2014 is fueling optimism for 2015, with many major manufacturers saying they plan to hire more and invest more throughout the coming months,” said AMT President Douglas K. Woods. “The 3.1% gain in orders for the year was in line with our yearly forecast. While there are reasons for caution—a rising dollar, falling oil prices, and a shortage of skilled workers – overall we feel that the U.S. economy will continue to improve its fortunes through the first half of 2015 and manufacturing will see a measure of restrained growth.”
AMT Vice President-Strategic Analytics Pat McGibbon, reinforced the optimism, observing, “2014 was one of the top three years of the last 20 that we have seen.”
While falling oil prices have been a cause for concern, the drop cuts both ways, says McGibbon. “Everyone was worried about the effects of the oil price crash, but in December, CAPEX orders picked up. Because of the drop in oil prices, companies increased capital spending. For example, GM announced $9 billion in projected capital spending.”
McGibbon said that much of the increased capital spending has been taking place in the automotive, aerospace and job shop sectors, citing investments, particularly in the southeastern U.S., by a number of automotive companies and Boeing. An additional factor, says McGibbon, is that companies are taking capital freed up by falling oil prices and investing in more automation spending on top of their investments in other capital projects.
For more of McGibbon’s analysis of the latest USMTO report, see video below.