There may still be some uncertainty about the U.S. economic outlook, but the forecast for the material handling equipment industry is healthy, according to the "2012 State of the Industry Report" issued by Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA), the sponsor of the MODEX 2012 show. New orders grew by an estimated 15.2 percent in 2011 over 2010's sales, according to the report. Additionally MHIA's members are forecasting a slower but still very respectable 8-percent rise in 2012, followed by a 12-percent increase in 2013, said MHIA CEO George Prest.
Shipments did equally well last year. Material handling equipment manufacturers reported growth of 17.1 percent in 2011, and they're anticipating growth of 9 percent in 2012 and 11 percent in 2013. Domestic demand (shipments plus imports less exports) was very strong, rising 18.4 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year.
The strong growth should continue, if the number of potential buyers crowding the MODEX show floor and the many manufacturers that are expanding manufacturing plants and hiring labor are any indication. MHIA said improvements in employment rates, industrial activity, and factory utilization should help boost equipment manufacturers' prospects through 2014.