According to USMTC, machine tool orders in September 2011 were 2,749 units and $554,369,000. In September 2011, unit orders were 43.4 percent and real-dollar orders were 47.0 percent more than September 2010. For unit orders, this is the second highest total since September 1998 (March 2008 saw 2,820 units ordered) and this is the second highest total for real-dollar sales since March 1998 (March 2008 was $560,682,000).
Annual growth rates for unit and dollars are still stronger than at any time in at least the last 40 years. However, the growth rates are starting to slow down, which is to be expected given how far and fast machine tool sales have increased from all-time lows in early 2009.
The chart below shows that September’s sales level has reached peak levels of the last 20 years. Normally, it takes about six years for machine tool sales to go from their low to their peak. But in this current cycle, sales have gone from their low to the previous peak in about half the time—three years. This has caused long backlogs at most builders.