U.S. machine tool consumption totaled $225.94 million in January, according to the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

This total was down 31.9 percent from December, but up 11.3 percent from the total of $202.94 million reported in January 2005.

"We have begun the year on a very positive note with January 2006 metalworking equipment orders up a healthy 11.3 percent compared to January 2005. This signals another promising year of continued momentum within the U.S. manufacturing economy as companies continue to recognize the benefits of investing in new machine tool technology to improve productivity," said John J. Healy, AMTDA president. "Although parts of the Midwest continue to experience the struggles of the automotive industry and the South continues to deal with the aftereffects of Katrina, many U.S. regions have shown strong, double-digit growth spurred by aerospace, defense, energy and medical manufacturing activity."

January machine tool consumption in the South totaled $36.58 million, 18.9 percent less than December's $45.09 million and level with last January.

At $67.70 million, Midwestern machine tool consumption in January was down 41.1 percent when compared with December's $114.99 million and down 19.2 percent when compared with January a year ago.

Northeast machine tool consumption in January stood at $23.63 million, 48.3 percent less than December's $45.69 million but 14.3 percent ahead of January 2005.

Machine tool consumption in the Central U.S. totaled $63 million, 21.7 percent less than December's $80.44 million, but 56 percent higher than the total for January 2005.

With a $35.02 million total, Western U.S. machine tool consumption was 23.3 percent less than December's $45.63 million, but up 61.1 percent when compared with last January.