Report: Factory orders plummet in February

The decline in orders reached unexpected levels, further hinting at an approaching recession.


Orders to U.S. factories fell for a second straight month, a worse-than-expected performance that reinforced worries that the risk of recession is rising, an Associated Press report said Wednesday.
The Commerce Department reported that factory orders dropped by 1.3% in February, about double the downturn that economists had been expecting. Orders had fallen an even bigger 2.3% in January, the largest decline in five months. The falloff in demand was widespread, with steep declines in orders for motor vehicles, various types of heavy machinery and demand for iron and steel.
Aaron Smith, an economist with Moody's, noted that inventories of unsold manufacturing goods have now risen for six straight months, indicating further weakness ahead as factories are forced to cut production to prevent a sizable increase in unwanted stockpiles.
The report on factory orders showed demand falling by 1.1% for durable goods %%MDASSML%% items expected to last at least three years %%MDASSML%% while orders for nondurable goods %%MDASSML%% products such as oil and chemicals %%MDASSML%% fell by 1.5%.
The weakness in manufacturing occurred even though orders for commercial airplanes rose by 5.1% in February, rebounding from a big decline in January. Orders for motor vehicles fell by 2% in February after no gain in January. Automakers are struggling with weak demand in the face of soaring gasoline prices.
Overall, orders for transportation products posted a 1.8% rise in February as the strength in commercial and defense aircraft orders as well as higher demand for ships and boats offset the drop in motor vehicles. Orders for heavy machinery plunged by 12.3% in February, the biggest decline since January 2004, while orders for iron and steel fell by 2.3%.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.