Plastics Machinery Shipments Recover in Third Quarter After Weaker Second Quarter
The preliminary estimate of primary plastics equipment shipments was up 4.1% over the second quarter, with a year-over-year improvement of 5.6%.
Shipments of primary plastics equipment—injection molding and extrusion machines—totaled $349.4 million in the third quarter for reporting companies, according to the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS) Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES), up 4.1% compared to the revised second quarter total of $335.5 million. That figure was revised higher on the basis of greater than initially assessed injection molding shipments.
In a release, Perc Pineda, chief economist at PLASTICS said the numbers reflected a rebound from a “weak” second quarter with greater optimism going forward. “We expect higher shipments in the fourth quarter,” Pineda said. He noted that a tight labor market and a production backlogs were pushing out shipment deliveries.
Injection molding shipments increased 2.1% on a quarterly basis, while single-screw and twin-screw extruder shipments continued double-digit growth, posting 23.8% and 14.2% gains, respectively. On a year over year basis, injection molding shipments were up 4.6%, with single-screw extruders shipments rising 7.7% and twin-screw extruder shipments 17.2% greater.
Pineda said that outside of auto and home sales numbers in the third quarter, the U.S. economy remained in an “expansionary mode.”
“While there are projections of moderate growth next year, it is expected that the U.S. economy will remain healthy,” Pineda said. According to the Federal Reserve, capacity utilization for plastics and rubber products dipped slightly—0.43%—from September (78.75) to October (78.41). In its November jobs report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that manufacturing, along with health care, transportation and warehousing, saw job gains. Of the 155,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy in November, 27,000 came in manufacturing, including 6000 of those in chemicals.
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