April 2011 Manufacturing Market Summary

April 4, 2011 - The market for machined parts has rebounded significantly in the last 12 months. That manufacturing continues to grow while other key market segments, like new home sales, do not make this recovery unique. Released on Friday, April 1, 2011, the Purchasing Manager's Index remained above 60 for the third consecutive month.  It has been in a growth mode for the past 20 months. Other indexes are similarly positive.

The Federal Reserve reports that manufacturing capacity utilization in February, 2011 was at 74.3%. This number is significantly higher than the 69.7 of February 2010. The report states that “in February, manufacturing output rose 0.4 percent, and over the past 12 months the level of factory production has climbed almost 7 percent. Capacity utilization for manufacturing moved up 0.2 percentage point to 74.3 percent, a rate 4.8 percentage points below its average from 1972 to 2010 but almost 9 percentage points above its trough in June 2009.”

While the February United States Manufacturing Technology Consumption numbers have not yet been released by the American Machine Tool Distributors Association (AMTDA) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the January report shows an impressive 188% year over year growth rate. “As equipment deliveries grow longer and commodity prices increase, factories may continue to make these investments before inflation and other factors raise prices further,” states Peter Borden AMTDA President.

Finally, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, April 1, 2011, that  United States manufacturers added 17,000 jobs in March  as commodity prices and Japanese supply chain issues fail to slow growth.  Particularly strong were the automotive and off highway industries.   “Manufacturers such as Rockford Toolcraft Inc. are grappling with a sharp upturn in business. The Rockford, Ill., company, which makes steel frames used in tractors, trucks and industrial equipment, is the busiest it has been in its 35-year history,” writes editor Justin Lahart.