2011 Annual Report & Forecast

Rod Sutton, Editorial Director | January 18, 2011

The unprecedented level of uncertainty in the construction industry has everyone stymied. The usual rules do not seem to apply: The recession ended a year ago, but construction isn’t responding as it has in the past.

Add to this the irresponsible behavior in Washington, D.C. The sorry lack of action or even debate on transportation funding most directly affects this industry.

But the level of economic uncertainty fostered by the oscillating leadership of Congress has both businesses and consumers sitting on their hands, waiting for some indication on how government will, won’t or even should be involved.

The construction sector continues to suffer on the jobs front, and most vocational markets are stuck in neutral. We’re all hopeful that this year won’t be another of marking time, but more and more observers have set
their sights on 2012 instead of 2011 for a full bounceback in North American markets.

Equipment managers are wrestling with asset-management decisions that rely on financial factors such as credit availability and acceptable fleet ages. Managing the balance between maintenance and acquisition has
become a key challenge.

Welcome to the 2011 Annual Report & Forecast. Construction Equipment has published this special report for more than 25 years, surveying the nation’s fleets for a recap of the year just ended and a forecast on prospects for the new year ahead.

Our report kicks off with a look at national macroeconomic trends, written once again by Jim Haughey of Reed Construction Data. His analysis provides data and forecasts on the factors driving construction markets.

We also again report on the largest exclusive survey of equipment owners and managers in the industry. We surveyed Contractors, Nonconstruction Fleets, and Government Agencies. New this year is a look at the transportation sector, supplied by our sibling publication, Roads & Bridges. Editorial director Bill Wilson reports on their survey of transportation officials: government agencies, engineering firms
and contractors.

We are gratified for the continued support of Case Construction Equipment as a co-sponsor of this industry report. Case is a full-line manufacturer of earthmoving equipment, and its support of this project allows us to publish substantial amounts of data and analysis for the
industry’s use.