Manufacturers talk about 2009 to date

August seems to be a month where I'm talking to an awful lot of contractors and manufacturers, and without giving away any company names or locations, here's some of what I've been hearing from manufacturers: * One sealer producer says sales are down about 5% from 2008. A small percentage of that can be attributed to the economy but almost all of the decline is more likely the result of poor weather which has put customers way behind in getting their work done. So here's hoping for an extra long season with a nice long Indian Summer. * Another material producer says sales through June were up 30% -- maybe you want to read that again to make sure you got it right. That's a huge number in any economy but especially in this one. Some of that is attributed to the federal government's stimulus package which has opened the door to short-term maintenance projects that can get started and completed so public agencies don't have to commit long-term dollars to them. * Not surprisingly, equipment sales are lagging, and that's particularly true of the larger, more expensive units. Manufacturers are seeing some sales in less-expensive equipment but big pieces are a harder sell...plus, contractor are encountering issues obtaining credit despite the fact they might have a very solid credit history. This seems to be in line with what most manufacturers were anticipating for 2009. If you're a manufacturer feel free to let us know how your season is going -- you can do it without letting us know who you are. Next week I'll report on what contractors are saying.

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