Machine Tools: Dollar Orders Growing Faster than Unit Orders

Dollar orders have grown faster than unit orders for three straight months, pushing the average price of a machine to its highest level since January 2015.

In March, machine tool orders were 2,532 units and $493,795,000.

The 2,532 units were 9.8 percent more than one year ago. Machine tool orders grew for the sixth month in a row. As a result, the annual rate of change accelerated to 11.7 percent, which was its fastest rate of growth since August 2017. 

Real dollar orders were noticeably stronger than unit orders. Dollar orders increased 24.7 percent compared with one year ago, growing faster than unit orders for the third month in a row. The annual rate of growth, now 10.3 percent, accelerated for the sixth consecutive month. With dollars growing faster than units, the average price of machine increased for the fourth time in five months. The average machine price was $195,000, or about 6.5 percent more than the historic average machine price. The increase in price was expected, and should continue, due to the relatively low availability of machines.

Five of the six regions performed quite well in March, but the strongest region was the West. Unit orders increased 9.5 percent and dollar orders increased 32.8 percent. Dollar orders reached their highest level since since March 1998, cracking the $100,000,000 level in a single month for just the third time. The average priced of a machine in the West soared to $195,400, or more than 26 percent above the historic average for the region.

The North Central-East did not fare nearly as well as the other five regions. Unit orders were down 6.7 percent, contracting for the second month in a row. Dollar orders still managed to grow 8.1 percent though. However, the average price of a machine in the North Central-East was 9.4 percent below the historic average, which made the region the only one with an average price below its long term average.

Reports

World Machine Tool Survey

An independent annual survey that collects statistics from machine tool consuming and producing countries and compares them in real U.S. dollars.

Gardner Business Index

A diffusion index measuring month-to-month changes in activity at durable goods and discrete parts manufacturing facilities.

Capital Spending Survey

An annual survey that collects statistics regarding budgeted spending on machine tools, testing equipment, software and more that are then projected across the metalworking industry based on plant size.