U.S. manufacturing technology orders (USMTO) are down year-over-year, according to the newest report from the Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT).
Orders were up 11 percent month-over-month from August to September as they usually rise as summer ends. However, they are down 17 percent from September 2014, one of the top three months in the history of USMTO.
Last year AMT forecasted a 5 percent decline in orders in 2015 from 2014, but it is now projecting the year will end down about 17 to 18 percent.
Looking beyond this year, AMT analysts project manufacturing will be “soft” at the start of 2016 but will rise approaching fall. The organization’s Global Forecasting & Marketing Conference in October foresaw a “fairly strong” 2017 and 2018 with no significant downturn until the end of 2018 or 2019.
The report also noted that Congress can help boost capital investment next year by extending increased Section 179 expensing and 50 percent bonus depreciation that expired last year.
The projected rise next year is in part based on new models the automotive industry will introduce. The models will need shorter production runs and therefore require new capital investments in manufacturing technology for production. Additionally, aerospace manufacturing is projected to be strong for the next three to four years, and medical equipment is now picking up and should continue to do so over the next decade as the population ages and technology evolves.
Looking back at the September 2015 figures, the monthly growth comes in part from New England aerospace components, mainly for engines, driving up their order base up by 20-40 percent and in part from $1.6 billion of new automotive investment and plants in the Southeast.