Orders grow, but economy remains fragile

Local News
- 15 Sep 2011 ( #531 ) - Charlotte, NC
1 min read
An industry report says that US materials handling equipment orders grew 17.1% during October-March and projects a 14% increase in shipments for the full 2011 fiscal year ending 30 September.

The Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) provides a quarterly forecast of materials handling equipment manufacturing (MHEM).

The forecast projects materials handling equipment order growth of 11% in fiscal 2011 and 7% in fiscal 2012. The forecast includes US Bureau of Census data under four categories of the North American industry classification system: elevators and moving stairways; conveyors and conveying equipment; overhead travelling cranes, hoists and monorail systems; and industrial trucks, tractors, mobile straddle carriers and stacker machinery.

"Consumers and investors are sceptical regarding improvement in economic conditions," says Hal Vandiver, MHIA executive consultant.

"Given slow (gross domestic product) growth, unemployment is likely not to improve over the next 18 months, supporting concerns about positive consumer behaviour. Industrial production activity appears to be softening, and factory operating rates (utilisation) are forecasted to improve only modestly."

Statisticians downgraded forecasts for GDP, investment and consumption "to reflect the growing sentiment that US and global economies are fragile," Vandiver notes. "We have reduced our forecast for MHEM new orders, shipment and domestic demand for 2012."

The forecast projects 14% growth of materials handling equipment shipments during fiscal 2011 and 7% to 8% during fiscal 2012. Shipments grew 6.1% in fiscal 2010.

Domestic demand ― shipments plus imports less exports ― grew 3% to 4% in fiscal 2010. Domestic demand grew 13.1% in the first half of fiscal 2011 and is projected to climb 5.5% in fiscal 2012.

MHIA, an international trade association, is based in Charlotte.
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