A post-IMTS hangover had orders of U.S. machine tools  drop sharply in October 2014, but a nice increase in domestic cutting tool consumption validates that U.S. machine tools and manufacturing, in general, is creeping along at a healthy pace.

First, let’s look at U.S. manufacturing technology orders as reported by Engineering.com:

October U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $417.80 million according to AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total was down 35.0% from September and down 6.2% when compared with the total of $445.64 million reported for October 2013. Overall, it’s not bad news; with a year-to-date total of $4,150.41 million, 2014 is up 3.8% compared with last year.

Watch the video below where AMT VP of Industry Analytics Pat McGibbon concludes that the October drop in orders is not doomsday but, conversely, could be seen as a “positive sign” of the overall health of the U.S. machine tools industry and domestic manufacturing:

How is the AMT spinning a more than 30% drop in October machine tool orders as a good thing? It might be a good idea to look at U.S. cutting tool consumption that is up 9.7% over September, according to Engineering.com, as cited in the Cutting Tool Consumption Report, a joint study by the AMT and U.S. Cutting Tool Institute.

Cutting tool consumption is a better indicator of machine tool sector health than machine sales, as cutting tools “are a true indicator of capacity utilization since they reflect usage rates of existing equipment as well as expansion due to new machine purchases,” according to Engineering.com.

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