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Machine Tool Orders Up: Orders for U.S.-made machine tools climbed 22% in August--their third consecutive monthly gain. But they were still well below year-ago levels, the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology said. August tool orders rose to $235.70 million from July's $193.25 million, but were off 14.8% from the $276.80 million of a year ago. Although the machine tool industry is relatively small, its activity is a key indicator of the strength of industrial production. Economists use it to gauge capital spending by manufacturers.

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