year-to-date tool consumption in the U.S. totals $1.5 billion in 2004.

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Year-to-date U.S. machine tool consumption for 2004 has totaled $1.5 billion, up 39 percent from 2003, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and the Association For Manufacturing Technology.

The associations also report that tool consumption for July totaled $243.09 million, down 12.7 percent from June, but up 77.1 percent for the same month last year.

"Trends for investment in capital equipment continue, thanks to an improving economy and the desire to take advantage of year-end tax incentives and the need to reduce manufacturing costs," said Ralph J. Nappi, AMTDA president. "Seven months into 2004, manufacturing has displayed consistent signs of a rebound capable of worldwide competition."

The associations also reported machine tool consumption in five geographic regions.

At $32.76 million, machine tool consumption in the Northeast was down 14.6 percent in July compared to June's $38.37 million, but up 47.2 percent when compared to July a year ago. The year-to-date total of $227.94 million is 52.7 percent higher than the comparable 2003 figure.

The South saw tool consumption in July total $40.09 million, down 19.1 percent from June's $49.56 million, but 56 percent higher than the total for July 2003. With a year-to-date total of $239.18 million, 2004 was 8.8 percent behind 2003 at the same time.

July machine tool consumption in the Midwest totaled $92.17 million, down 21 percent from June's $116.7 million, but 88.8 percent higher than the total for the previous July. At $644.42 million, year-to-date consumption was up 48.5 percent compared to the total at the same time in 2003.

Reaching $52.06 million, July machine tool consumption in the Central U.S. was up 29.6 percent compared to June's $40.17 million and up 93.3 percent when compared to July a year ago. The $281.91 million year-to-date total is 53.5 percent above the comparable figure for 2003.

With a total of $26.01 million, the West's machine tool consumption was down 22.5 percent compared to June's $33.56 million, but up 92.4 percent compared to last July's total. At $192.11 million, year-to-date 2004 is running 75.2 percent ahead of 2003.