First half of 2004 sees $1.2 billion in sales.

ROCKVILLE, Md. - U.S. machine tool consumption for June totaled $236.93 million, up 19.5 percent compared to May, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology and the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association.

The associations also report that June 2004 tool consumption was up slightly from the previous year. With a first-half total of $1.2 billion, 2004 is up 31.9 percent compared with 2003.

"June's machine tool orders capped a strong first half as manufacturers scrambled to get equipment in place before the 50 percent expensing allowance expires on Dec. 31st," said John B. Byrd III, AMT president. "Next month's International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago may be their last shot at ordering machines to beat that deadline, unless Congress acts this fall to assure that the manufacturing recovery continues by extending the provision."

The 50 percent expensing allowance is part of the Jobs and Economic Growth Act of 2003, passed by Congress in May. The act allows companies a tax break on new equipment purchases.

June's tool consumption is also reported on a regional basis. The Northeast was up 25.8 percent compared to the previous month with totals of $36.60 million. The South reported tool consumption for June totaling $47.41 million, up 91.9 percent from May. The Midwest saw June machine tool consumption totaling $85.80 million, 2.1 percent higher than May. The Central U.S. reached $40.93 million for June, up 5.5 percent from the previous month. The West totaled $26.18 million, up 20.9 percent from May.