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Forecasts for GDP Downgraded, says MHIA

Material handling equipment orders grew 17.1 percent in the first half of 2011 and are forecasted to grow 11 percent in 2011 and 7 percent in 2012, according to the latest Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing Forecast (MHEM). But forecasts for gross domestic product (GDP) have been downgraded.

"Consumers and investors are skeptical regarding improvement in economic conditions," said Hal Vandiver, Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) executive consultant. "Given slow GDP growth, unemployment is likely not to improve over the next 18 months, supporting concerns about positive consumer behavior. Industrial production activity appears to be softening and factory operating rates (utilization) are forecasted to improve only modestly."

He continued: "Forecasts for GDP, investment and consumption have been downgraded to reflect the growing sentiment that U.S. and global economies are fragile. We have reduced our forecast for MHEM new orders, shipment and domestic demand for 2012."

Material handling equipment shipments grew 6.1 percent in 2010 and are forecasted to grow 14 percent in 2011 and 7-8 percent in 2012. Domestic demand (shipments plus imports less exports) grew 3-4 percent in 2010. Domestic demand grew 13.1 percent in the first half of 2011 and 5.5 percent in 2012.

The MHEM forecast of material handling equipment manufacturing is released each quarter by MHIA and looks 12 to 18 months forward to anticipate changes in the material handling and logistics marketplace.


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