A newly released report from the Association for Manufacturing Technology, or AMT, shows orders totaled $401.69 million in January—an increase of 8.4% over the same period in 2011. The findings are encouraging, according to AMT, in that they beat out analysts’ forecasts.

“I think the continued growth highlights manufacturers’ increasing confidence in future growth, and that their bottom lines are being channeled into investments in advanced manufacturing technologies,” said Douglas K. Woods, AMT president.

The United States Manufacturing Technology Orders report (USMTO), compiled by the trade association representing the production and distribution of manufacturing technology, provides regional and national U.S. orders data of domestic and imported machine tools and related equipment. From a regional standpoint, the Midwest, Central, and Northeast sections of the country fared best, achieving growth rates of 24.9%, 16.1%, and 12.5%, respectively, compared to January 2011. On the flip side, manufacturing technology orders in the Southern and Western regions were down 33.6% and 7%, respectively.

The report measures manufacturing technology net new orders every month based on gross order and cancellation data collected from America’s distributors and builders of manufacturing technology. Increases in dollar volume of manufacturing technology orders show that more manufacturing work on the end product is occurring in the U.S.