Machine Tool Consumption Drops Threaten Productivity Gains

The long string of productivity gains which fueled the recent economic expansion are not likely to resume until capital spending for manufacturing equipment picks up.

Machine Tool Consumption figures for March totaled an estimated $304.74 million. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTC program and representing approximately 72% of the total market, was up 47.3% compared to February 2001 but down 32.6% from the March 2000 total of $452.21 million. 

“The long string of productivity gains which fueld the recent economic expansion are not likely to resume until capital spending for manufacturing equipment picks up," said Don. F. Carlson, AMT President. "To return to the growth rate of the nineties, manufacturers need to exhibit the courage to invest in the latest technology to drive costs down and their competitiveness up." 

National machine tool consumption (in millions):

NATIONAL

March '01

Previous Month

YTD '01

YTD '00

Change

Metal
Cutting

278.52

185.77

676.26

952.89

-29.0%

Metal
Forming

26.22

21.12

62.22

111.59

-44.2%

Total $304.74

$206.89

$738.48 $1,064.48 -30.6%

Domestic
Machine tool consumption is also reported on a regional basis for five geographic breakouts within the United States. Here are the figures for March:

  • Northeast Region
    In the Northeast region, March machine tool consumption rose to $53.38 million, up 9.3% compared to February’s $43.52 million but down 32.7% compared to March 2000. At $147.98 million, the year-to-date total is down 19.0% compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Southern Region
    In the Southern region machine tool consumption checked in at $40.55 million, up 59.1% from February’s $25.49 million but off 32.5% compared to March a year ago. At $89.78 million, the year-to-date total is down 40.9% compared to 2000 at the same time.
  • Midwestern Region
    In the Midwest, the monthly total was $116.30 million, up 77.5% compared to February’s $65.54 million, but down 29.0% compared to last March. With a year-to-date total of $260.66 million, 2001 machine tool consumption is 34.0% lower than the comparable figure for 2000.
  • Central Region
    In the Central region, the total was at $57.90 million, up 42.0% from February’s $40.78 million, but down 27.9% compared to March 2000. Registering $138.58 million, machine tool consumption is 22.2% behind 2000 for the same time period.
  • Western Region
    In the Western region, the total was $36.61 million, up 16.0% compared to February’s $31.57 million, but down 46.7% compared to March a year ago.  The year-to-date total of $101.48 million is down 35.4% compared to last year.

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