‘Green’ holds promise, but positive signs are hard to find

Jul 01, 2009 | 08:17 AM |

There's just no way to sugar coat the impact of the economic downturn on the machine tool sector. While U.S. manufacturing technology consumption has picked up slightly from a 13-year low seen in January, there are few signs that things will strengthen markedly anytime soon. Even so, some are turning their hopes to "greener" pastures.

Investment in U.S. manufacturing technology rose 22.3 percent to $162.9 million in March vs. February, according to the latest data available, but still trails the March 2008 tally of $579.7 million by 71.9 percent, according to a joint report by the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

"There's no way or reason to try to sugar coat these numbers. They are the lowest since reporting began in 1996," Peter Borden, president of the distributors association, said of January's $95 million in investments, down 59 percent from the previous month and off 72 percent from $338 million a year earlier. Manufacturing technology investments totaled $397.6 million in the first quarter, down 68.6 percent from $1.26 billion in the same period last year.....

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