Demand for cutting tools product by U.S. manufacturers and machine shops increased significantly during December 2014, up 7.2% from the November volume, and driving the cumulative volume to a 5.0% increase over the 2013 total. The results were reported by the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and AMT – the Association for Manufacturing Technology, in their monthly.

The CTMR is based on actual figures reported by cutting tool manufacturers and distributors participating in the program, who represent about 80% of the U.S. market for cutting tools. The reports’ sponsors note that cutting tools are high-value, high-volume consumable products, the consumption of which parallels manufacturing activity in the wider economy.

Cutting tool demand trends had wavered from quarter to quarter during 2014, though USCTI president Tom Haag suggested two factors for the late-year increase. “December was a reflection on the auto industry perpetuating its strong growth while aerospace markets continue to work on an enormous backlog,” he said. “The December sales closed a year with a strong message that manufacturing is still driving growth in our economy.”

The late surge in demand is consistent with the late rise in new orders for machine tools, as reflected in AMT’s monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report, though that report tracks investments in new production equipment and is presented as an index of future manufacturing confidence, rather than current activity. 

Late-year demand for machine tools also is evident in new orders recorded by trade groups representing the German and Italian machine tool industries.

According to Haag, the “flurry” of activity at the end of the 214 calendar year is “an indication that our market is steady and strong despite some volatility in the monthly statistics this past calendar year.”