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.