In an economy in which you still have to look hard to find good news, the nation's material handling sector continues to shine.
The Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) reported Thursday that material handling equipment orders grew by an estimated 16.3 percent last year and that it expects growth to continue through this year and next.
The trade group said in a statement that its Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing Forecast (MHEM) predicts growth of 8 to 9 percent this year and 12 percent in 2013. Hal Vandiver, executive consultant for MHIA, cited growing consumer and investor confidence, rising employment, growing industrial production, and increasing factory utilization rates as factors driving the growth.
"All are favorably impacting MHEM," he said. "Both residential and non-residential construction will contribute greatly to positive growth through 2014."
The forecast echoes a report last month from the Conveyor Equipment Manufacturers Association (CEMA). At CEMA's annual spring meeting, the group's statistics committee forecast double-digit growth this year following robust growth last year.
The MHIA report indicates that material handling equipment shipments grew by nearly 18 percent in 2011 and should grow 9 percent this year and 11 percent next year. Domestic demand grew by more than 19 percent.
MHIA releases the MHEM forecast on a quarterly basis.