While we were excitedly trolling the aisles of NPE2015, agog at the amazing machinery and molds churning out plastic parts and companies showcasing their latest and greatest technology, the overall manufacturing economy was in the doldrums.
On March 25, the U.S. Department of Commerce released the "Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders for February 2015." New orders for manufactured durable goods in February decreased $3.2 billion, or 1.4%, to $231.3 billion. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 2.0% January increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.4%; excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.0%.
Transportation equipment, also down three of the last four months, led the decrease at $2.5 billion, or 3.5%, to $69.5 billion.
While those figures look gloomy, most of the moldmakers and molders at NPE2015, who supply the automotive industry, said they were very busy. However, that optimism isn't across the board, according to the Original Equipment Suppliers Association in the March "OESA Automotive Supplier Barometer."