Industrial Trucks Seeing Steady Growth

Trend seen as a positive indicator for manufacturing sector

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The production of powered industrial trucks, or forklifts, appears to be growing steadily this year, a positive sign for companies who manufacture forklifts as well as for the U.S. economy as a whole.

Data gathered from members of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) shows an estimated expected growth of 2 to 3 percent for 2013 over 2012 figures, with another 1 to 2 percent increase anticipated in 2014. ITA gathers market intelligence quarterly to help its members depict trends and recognize the changing needs of the industry.

ITA members estimated the 2013 market for forklifts at approximately 179,000 to 184,000 units, compared to 178,904 for 2012. In addition, 89 percent of members expect that in 2013, they will increase overall factory shipments above 2012 levels.

“We’re seeing a promising trend of renewed growth in demand for powered industrial trucks since 2009 to 2010, when the recession greatly impacted our industry,” said Jim Moran of Crown Equipment Corporation and Chairman of ITA. “This steady growth shows some stability returning to the marketplace.”

About half of the companies report they are on track to increase the number of production employees this year above 2012 numbers. According to Moran, good news for the forklift industry is usually good news for the country. He noted that forklift sales often mirror the ups and downs of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Our industry’s growth is a strong indicator of growth in the manufacturing sector, and we’re selling a lot of products into the automotive and warehousing industries,” he said. “Our rebound is symbolic of the economy’s rebound. We’re cautiously optimistic.”