For an industrial market longing for some good laughs, the sharp increase in machine-tool orders that December 2002 posted over the previous month should make many distributors, reps and manufacturers downright giddy.
According to the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA), December U.S. machine tool consumption totaled $198.19 million — up an astounding 45.5 percent from November and a solid 18.1 percent from the $167.8 million reported for December 2001. Alas, total 2002 machine-tool consumption was down 22.8 percent compared to 2001.
However, Ralph J. Nappi, AMTDA president said the machine-tool industry closed a dismal 2002 “on a high note.” “Increased orders for the month from one year ago and a substantially better posting over November may indicate the beginning of a long awaited and needed recovery,” he said. “Coupled with three consecutive months of manufacturing growth as reported by the Institute for Supply Management, this gives the machine tool industry hope that China is not going to take away all U.S. manufacturing.”