February Machine Tool Order Growth Fastest Since September 2018

February machine tool unit orders were the highest since February 2013. Order growth is booming as the GBI: Metalworking is hitting all-time highs as a result of strong growth in new orders and production at machine shops.

February machine tool orders were 1,969 units and $363,793,000.

Unit orders in February increased 31.0% compared with one year ago, marking the fifth month of growth in the last six months. February’s month-over-month rate of growth was the fastest since September 2018. As a result, the annual rate of contraction decelerated for the seventh straight month to its slowest rate of contraction, -5.3%, since August 2019.

In January, dollar orders increased at a nearly identical rate of 30.6%. Therefore, the average dollar price of machine tools decreased by 0.3% compared with one year ago. The annual rate of contraction in dollar orders decelerated for the seventh month in a row to its slowest rate since August 2019. 

Month-over-month rates of change differed wildly among the six regions. February orders were dominated by the North-Central West and East regions.

Region                           Units          Dollars

West                                 17.5%         20.7%

South Central               2.8%           -18.0%

North-Central West    77.0%         107.8%

North-Central East     54.9%         76.9%

Southeast                       13.8%        -29.2%

Northeast                        10.0%         3.3%

Compared with one year ago, the GBI: Metalworking grew 53.2%, which was the eighth consecutive month of growth and the fastest (and nearly double the next fastest ) rate of growth in the history of the GBI. The annual rate of change in the GBI grew 0.8% in March, which was the first month of annual growth since February 2019. It is clear that the annual rate of change in machine tool orders has already bottomed ahead of schedule.

Gardner Business Media - Strategic Business Solutions