Material handling equipment orders grew more than 17% in the first half of 2011, but are forecasted to grow just 11% for the year and 7% in 2012, according to new predictions from the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA, www.mhia.org).
"Consumers and investors are skeptical regarding improvement in economic conditions," said Hal Vandiver, 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."
MHIA has reduced its forecast for new orders, shipments and domestic demand for 2012, Vandiver noted. "Forecasts for GDP, investment and consumption have been downgraded to reflect the growing sentiment that U.S. and global economies are fragile."