U.S. manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools and related technology totaled $370.62 million during January, starting the year with a decline of 26.5% versus the December 2012 total, and down -12.2% from the January 2012 total.

The total of machine units sold during January was 2,040, including metal cutting machines and metal forming and fabricating machines. The figure indicates a decline of 19.9% from December machine units (2,548), but a drop of less than 1% (-0.24%) from the January 2012 unit total.

The data is reported in the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders monthly survey, prepared by AMT - the Association for Manufacturing Technology and representing actual values for reported by participating companies. The monthly survey covers all sources of manufacturing technology, from domestic sources and imports.

“The drop-off between December and January is typical for technology orders, and it’s important to keep in mind that orders were exceptionally strong at the end of 2012, outperforming much of the broader economy,” stated AMT president Douglas K. Woods.

Last year’s U.S. manufacturing technology orders peaked in September 2012, rising 40.7% for the month that coincided with IMTS 2012, and marking the highest monthly sales total of the past two years. The rest of the year’s monthly results were more evenly distributed, and the January 2013 order total is less than for any single month of the previous year. 

“While the manufacturing economy continues to be strong, we may see its growth undercut by fiscal uncertainty due to the impact from sequestration,” Woods concluded.

The USMTO also reports regional results, and for the first time AMT has organized the results according to six geographic regions; through December 2012 the results were presented according to five regions.