March manufacturing orders improve over February
New orders of manufacturing technology totaled $543.2 million in March 2023, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report.
New orders of manufacturing technology totaled $543.2 million in March 2023, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published by the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). March orders were up 16.5% over February 2023 orders and just under 2% below March 2022 orders. Orders through the first quarter of 2023 totaled $1.36 billion, just 7.5% below the first quarter of 2022.
“Based on historical trends, we expected March to be an improvement over February,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “In an upside surprise, March 2023 is the first month of orders of over half a billion dollars since IMTS and one of the largest March totals since 2008. While most industries we track increased orders in March 2023, several were particularly boosted, as they were the beneficiaries of last year’s infrastructure and chips bills that have begun to be implemented.”
Construction machinery manufacturers greatly increased their orders in March 2023, ordering the most machines in a single month since April 2008. Contract machine shops, which account for the largest share of orders in a month, nearly doubled their orders from February 2023 and placed the highest number of orders since IMTS in September 2022. The aerospace industry placed their highest level of orders this year, and manufacturers of motor vehicle transmissions placed their largest order since June 2022.
“Investments made by automakers show the need for additional internal combustion engine manufacturing capacity as a bridge during the transition to electric vehicles,” said Woods.
He continued: “Despite the optimistic tone of March orders, there are several headwinds that could result in a summer cooling for the manufacturing technology industry. Although many economists have been predicting a recession for months, the general thinking now points to a slowdown toward the end of the summer or early fall. Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said he expects growth to remain below trend for some time, even if it doesn’t turn negative. Anecdotally, we have been hearing that quotation activity has already begun to slow, and given the typical sales cycle, that could translate into some softness in manufacturing technology orders later this year, in line with the economic predictions.”