North American manufacturers of laser systems and industrial laser sources reported that shipments in the second quarter of 1999 were down 6 percent from the levels of the second quarter in 1998. According to a study by the Laser Systems Product Group of the Association for Manufacturing Technology in McLean, Va., total industrial laser shipments for the quarter were nearly $140 million, with exports representing $33.5 million. Despite the overall decline, the group found that sales of high-power CO2 lasers for cutting and welding applications displayed growth. The study, which tracked the 44 companies that contributed data in both years, found that 55 percent of total shipments were lasers for cutting applications. Bob Zimmerman, chairman of the group, said that manufacturers continue to recognize the benefits of CO2 systems. The report did not include the increased shipments that were the result of the entry of new participants in the program in the first quarter of 1999.