AEM survey gives 'hopeful' outlook for North America

By Murray Pollok17 December 2010

Members of the US-based Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) are predicting a 12.7% increase in construction equipment sales in the US in 2011 followed by a 14.8% increase in 2012.

AEM's latest ‘business outlook' survey predicts that the recovery in the US construction equipment market will continue into 2013 with 13.0% growth. The survey forecasts Canadian growth of 12.0% in 2011, 14.8% in 2012 and 12.7% in 2013.

Export sales by North American manufacturers to the rest of the world are expected to be up 14.7% this year, with growth falling back to 11.8% in 2011, followed by 12.5% growth in 2010 and 11.2% in 2013.

"While this rebound is welcome, you have to remember our industry was down 30 to 50% in the recession, so there is a long way to go", said AEM president Dennis Slater, "Although business is improving, it will take years to recover the sales losses of 2008-2009."

For sales in the US, AEM members predict that the best performing sector will be road building equipment (pavers, rollers, asphalt plants, etc), with annual growth of between 25.0% and 28.3% for the next three years. Next best is earthmoving equipment, with annual increases of between 14.1% and 18.6% from 2011 to 2013.

The slowest growing product sectors over the 2011-2013 period are forecast to be concrete equipment (growth of between 7.4% and 11.1%), light equipment (9.4-11.5%) and cranes and lifting equipment (10.2% to 12.1%).

Mr Slater said; "This hopeful outlook will be difficult to achieve without action now on transportation infrastructure legislation and export-promotion policies. Infrastructure investment and export agreements are proven ways to create and maintain jobs for US workers, for a sustainable recovery and meaningful uptick in equipment demand".

Regarding the US construction market, Mr Slater said; "The housing market is still very weak, stimulus-funded projects are nearing an end, and state and local budgets continue to shrink. Unemployment in the manufacturing sector remains stubbornly high. In construction, unemployment is still about double the national average; for example, construction unemployment was 18.8% for November 2010".

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing the off-road equipment manufacturing industry.

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