February Machine Tool Order Growth Fastest Since September 2018

Order growth is booming as the GBI: Metalworking hits all-time highs as a result of strong growth in new orders and production at machine shops.


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According the most recent Gardner Business Intelligence report, February machine tool orders were 1,969 units and $363,793,000.

Unit orders in February increased 31.0% compared with one year ago, marking the fifth month of growth in the last six months. February’s month-over-month rate of growth was the fastest since September 2018. As a result, the annual rate of contraction decelerated for the seventh straight month to its slowest rate of contraction, -5.3%, since August 2019.

In January, dollar orders increased at a nearly identical rate of 30.6%. Therefore, the average dollar price of machine tools decreased by 0.3% compared with one year ago. The annual rate of contraction in dollar orders decelerated for the seventh month in a row to its slowest rate since August 2019. 

Month-over-month rates of change differed wildly among the six regions. February orders were dominated by the North-Central West and East regions.

Region                           Units          Dollars

West                                 17.5%         20.7%

South Central               2.8%           -18.0%

North-Central West    77.0%         107.8%

North-Central East       54.9%         76.9%

Southeast                       13.8%        -29.2%

Northeast                        10.0%         3.3%

Compared with one year ago, the GBI: Metalworking grew 53.2%, which was the eighth consecutive month of growth and the fastest (and nearly double the next fastest ) rate of growth in the history of the GBI. The annual rate of change in the GBI grew 0.8% in March, which was the first month of annual growth since February 2019. It is clear that the annual rate of change in machine tool orders has already bottomed ahead of schedule.


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