December orders of manufacturing technology totaled $456.7 million, nearly a 40% increase from November 2020 and a 17.6% increase over December 2019, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This is the highest monthly total since November 2018 and the second-straight month of year-over-year gains. Total orders in 2020 were $3.87 billion, a decrease of 15% from 2019.
“In December, the manufacturing technology industry saw growth in all geographic regions of the country as well as across the majority of manufacturing sectors,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “Given the reduced holiday schedules of most companies in December, this is particularly striking. The aerospace industry, which has been anemic since the spring due to the collapse of global travel, did significantly better than it has in many months. The November FAA approval of the Boeing 737 Max led to increased capital equipment investments by both small and large companies who had financing dependent upon FAA approval in place for these investments.
“Last spring, industry economic forecasters were predicting a 50% decline in manufacturing technology orders for the year amid U.S. industrial production contracting at a lower annualized rate than any point during the Great Depression. But as 2020 closes, we can now confirm that orders were down only 15% for 2020. Given the strength of December, and with pent up demand, depleted inventories, continued reshoring, several COVID vaccines, and a lot of cash on the sidelines, things bode well for a positive start to 2021.”