U.S. manufacturing technology orders rose during May

July 12, 2012

The state of American manufacturing has been debated by many industry analysts due to general global economic uncertainty, but a new report from the Association for Manufacturing Technology could inject needed optimism into the sector.

According to a release from the AMT, the number of manufacturing technology orders for the month of May rose by 12.1 percent when compared with the same period during 2011.

The orders totaled $473.92 million, representing a significant year-over-year rise, and also was higher than the $398.10 million from April 2012, an increase of 14.5 percent.

Though there are other indicators that analysts look to, including recent negative jobs and orders reports, some industry leaders feel as though this signifies how strong U.S. manufacturing has been compared to the rest of the economy.

AMT President Douglas K. Woods noted that the latest figures indicate sound health and continued expansion in durable goods manufacturing, as companies look to increase efficiency and adjust their business strategy to withstand any potential slowdown in demand.

"This is backed up by other key economic indicators, including an upward revision in housing starts and a strong showing in durable goods orders," said Woods. "While the latest PMI saw a slight dip, overall indications are that manufacturing will continue to lead the way in the general economy."

The Central and Northeast regions of the U.S. have seen year-over-year expansion, as these areas reported gains of 22.7 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively.

The relative progress that has been seen in U.S. manufacturing could be impacted by government policies in the coming years, as a delicate balance needs to be struck between free trade principles and protecting American industry.

Michael Kinsley, writing in Bloomberg News, noted that President Barack Obama is making some of the right moves in terms of bringing jobs back to the U.S., as he has taken a hardline stance on foreign imports.

"I don’t want America to be a nation that’s primarily known for financial speculation and racking up debt buying stuff from other nations. I want us to be known for making and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.” And we can make that happen," Obama said in a speech.