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The United States machine tools industry rallied in December 2014 as new orders grew 3.1% from a November decline.

American Machinist details the positive growth:

The December orders totaled $506.89 million, an increase of 32.7% over November and 4.7% over the December 2013 order volumes. It was the second-highest monthly total during 2014, after the peak month of September, coinciding with IMTS 2014.

These numbers are pulled from the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report compiled by the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) which surveys new orders of domestic and imported metal-cutting and metal-forming equipment.

Growth in U.S. machine tools was modest in 2014. Orders totaled $5,079 million, up 3.1% over 2013. American companies ordered 27,860 new machine tool units in 2014.

AMT President Douglas Woods said the 2014 U.S. machine tools results were in line with forecasts and predicts a strong 2015.

“The momentum we saw in manufacturing toward the end of 2014 is fueling optimism for 2015, with many major manufacturers saying they plan to hire more and invest more throughout the coming months,” said Woods. “The 3.1% gain in orders for the year was in line with our yearly forecast. While there are reasons for caution – a rising dollar, falling oil prices, and a shortage of skilled workers – overall we feel that the U.S. economy will continue to improve its fortunes through the first half of 2015 and manufacturing will see a measure of restrained growth.”

Growth in the years ahead looks more robust, both in the United States and internationally, as the global machine tools market is poised to reach “$140.5 billion by 2020, driven by the steady recovery in the global Purchasing Managers Index,” according to a Global Industry Analysts (GIA) press release.

The GIA report forecasts resurging American manufacturing benefitting from “re-shoring” due to factors like lower North American natural gas prices and increased labor costs in China.

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