While the broad Construction Industry has struggled admirably the past few years, battling increased steel and energy costs and constricted federal (and therefore state) transportation funding, this year, it seems, construction businesses could breathe a little easier. And while the recession-resistant pavement maintenance & reconstruction industry has survived on the whole a little better than some construction segments, it, too, felt a solid uptick in the market this year. You probably can tell that by looking at your own business and your own market, but here is some more proof from companies — equipment manufacturers — that are directly affected by how good your business is.
The annual business outlook by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) predicts "robust business growth" through the end of 2004 followed by continued but more moderate growth in 2005. AEM members expect to end 2004 with a 16.1% sales gain in the United States and a 14.3% gain in Canadian sales over 2003 levels. The numbers dip slightly for 2005 (8.4% in the United States and 6.6% in Canada), but the outlook is clearly good. The report forecasts U.S. sales of paving-related equipment (pavers, rollers, plants, cold planers) to be up 14.7% in 2004 and another 10.4% in 2005; earthmoving equipment sales were expected to increase 27.4% in 2004 and another 7.8% next year; light equipment (plate compactors, screeds, saws, air compressors) sales were forecast to be up 12.3% in 2004 with another 9.5% growth expected in 2005. "Optimism is definitely the mood as our industry continues to recover from the business slump of the past few years," said AEM chairman Charles Stamp, vice president Public Affairs Worldwide for Deere & Co.
We couldn't agree more.