Year-to-date tool consumption is up 19 percent over the previous year.

ROCKVILLE, Md. - March U.S. machine tool consumption totalled $300.59 million, a 25.7 percent increase from the previous month, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

The March total is also up 6.6 percent from the $281.90 million total reported for the same month last year. With a year-to-date total of $737.24 million, 2005 is up 19.4 percent compared with 2004.

"Despite some unsettling economic news in the last few weeks, capital investment in machine tools is strong," said Ralph J. Nappi, AMTDA president. "Increased productivity and capacity requirements continue to push U.S. manufacturers to invest to be globally competitive."

March machine tool consumption in the Northeast totaled $41.03 million, up 5 percent from February's $39.07 million and up 33.6 percent when compared with March a year ago.

At $59.18 million, Southern machine tool consumption in March was 79.9 percent higher than the $32.89 million tallied in February and 19.6 percent ahead of the total for March 2004.

Midwestern machine tool consumption in March rose to $110.88 million, up 21.5 percent when compared with February's $91.24 million, but down 9.7 percent compared with last March.

With a total of $57.96 million, Central U.S. machine tool consumption was up 31.2 percent from February's $44.16 million and up 9.8 percent when compared with March a year ago.

Western machine tool consumption for March totaled $31.53 million, slightly less than February's $31.82 million, but 20.7 percent higher than the total for March 2004.