Getting a Handle on Material Handling Equipment

If economic cycles are an accurate indicator, things are looking upbeat for 2005. That’s one conclusion of an analysis of Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing (MHEM) prepared by the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA). According to a portion of the report, “Industrial Sector by Phase of Cycle” (prepared by the Manufacturing Alliance–MAPI) that illustrates the phases of a model business cycle, MHEM is currently in the “accelerating growth” phase. Indications are that MHEM is expected to remain in that phase through 2005.

MHEM includes conveyors and conveying equipment; overhead traveling cranes, hoists, and monorail systems; industrial truck, tractors, trailers and stacker machinery; and other material handling equipment. The Industrial Sector by Phase of Cycle chart indicates the position within the cycle for 28 different industrial sectors, based on the year-over-year change in the three month moving average of new orders.

MHIA’s MHEM Market Overview shows that for the full year 2003, new orders grew 2.7% to close at $16.2 billion, with shipments growing 0.8% to also close at $16.2 billion. Unfilled orders declined 0.6% to close at $4.7 billion, representing the equivalent of 3.4 months’ shipments. Meanwhile, imports grew at an annual rate of 7.9% to $3.2 billion; exports grew 2.6% to $2.0 billion, for a net import value of $1.1 billion. And total U.S. consumption closed at $17.4 billion, growing 1.9% for the twelve months ending in December 2003.

The MHEM Forecast is available at a discount of $40.00 to members of MHIA through the MHIA Web site at

Non-members may purchase the forecast for $195.00 by placing an order through the Material Handling Online Bookstore. For more information, go to MHEM Forecast at

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