The U.S. material handling industry will experience a severe contraction throughout 2009, with a trough reached by mid-year, said the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) as it released its annual "State of the Industry" forecast at the 2009 ProMat conference and exposition held this January in Chicago. That trough will then be followed by what MHIA termed a "decelerating decline" leading into 2010.
The report showed fairly solid gains in manufacturing activity in 2008 but projected retrenchment in 2009. MHIA forecasts that new orders will fall in 2009 by 18 to 20 percent and that a recovery will begin in late 2010. Shipments are also expected to fall, declining by 15 percent in 2009 and 3 percent in 2010. Domestic demand— defined as shipments plus imports less exports—will drop about 15 percent this year. Exports are forecast to decline in 2009 and 2010 after a period of robust growth, MHIA said.