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Metalworking Industry, 2008

U.S. Market Overview

The U.S. metalworking industry features cutting-edge technologies, a skilled workforce and high quality products. The metalworking industry is comprised of two distinct subsectors. First, the industrial tooling sector consists of nearly 7,000 companies that mainly produce tooling, dies and industrial molds. Second, the machine tooling sector consists of around 550 firms that mainly manufacture machinery. Metalworking companies vary in size, however many firms are smaller and specialize in a narrow field of metalworking. Larger, more sophisticated metalworking companies are becoming more competitive in the global market, while smaller companies that are partnering up with other firms or that have access to capital are also showing signs of success.

The U.S. domestic market for machine tools is the third largest in the world behind China and Japan. In 2006, total shipments in the machine tool sector totaled $5.3 billion, of which $3.8 billion was exports. Further, in 2006, total shipments in the industrial tooling sector totaled $12.6 billion, of which $1.2 billion was exports. Domestic die and mold companies currently supply 80 percent of the U.S. demand for industrial tooling.

With rapid globalization, the demand for high quality dies, tools and machinery is increasing. Currently, U.S. industry is restructuring in response to global competitive pressures. Moreover, tooling firms have recently been affected by the continuing weakness of U.S. automakers. In response, the U.S. has a number of attractive state and federal incentive programs for metalworking companies. For example, some states provide tax breaks for metalworking companies and assist them in forming strategic partnerships, innovating and accessing new customers. Such programs are intended to help companies be more competitive in a global marketplace.