During 2007, there will be continued economic growth; however, the growth will be significantly slower than in 2006. That was the overall conclusion of the economic expert speakers during the National Truck Equipment Association's (NTEA) recent Business and Market Planning Summit in Rosemont, Ill. For the work truck and trailer industry, the pre-buy this year will cause a short recession in 2007 with an upturn in 2008, said Stephen Latin-Kasper, NTEA market data and research director. Latin-Kasper also pointed out that the utility industries in the United States and some abroad will remain good markets for the work truck and trailer industry sales in 2007.
Don Johnson, chief economist for Caterpillar Inc., presented an overview of the U.S. construction scene for 2007. He noted that nonresidential building will likely be the fastest growing sector, and he said highway construction will grow — but at a slower rate than in 2006.
Construction machinery manufacturers predict smaller gains in overall industry business in 2007, according to the annual "outlook" forecast conducted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Growth is expected for U.S., Canadian and worldwide markets, with the strongest 2007 gains anticipated in global markets.
Machinery manufacturers participating in the annual AEM outlook survey forecast increases of 3.9 percent for the United States in 2007 and expect business volume to Canada to increase by 5 percent. They anticipate growth of 6.4 percent in other worldwide markets in 2007.
"Although the U.S. economy is starting to show signs of slowing down, it has displayed surprising resilience," stated Gerry Shaheen, 2006 AEM chairman and a group president of Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill. "For construction equipment manufacturing, the U.S. housing market has leveled off, but this has been offset by strength in nonresidential construction, road building and sales to global markets. We are cautiously optimistic that construction machinery sales will continue to grow through 2007, although at a more moderate pace than 2006. To put this in perspective, 2004 and 2005 sales were among the highest in recent years for the U.S. construction machinery manufacturing industry."
For 2007, earthmoving equipment sales are expected to decline 0.3 percent for the United States, while increasing 0.7 percent for Canada and 2.7 percent for other export markets. Sales of lifting equipment are expected to increase 10.4 percent in the United States, anticipated to grow 10.4 percent for Canada and predicted to gain 12.3 percent for other worldwide markets. Light equipment business for 2007 is expected to gain 3.5 percent for the United States, 4.8 percent for Canada and 5.5 percent for other worldwide markets.
AEM says business volume in 2007 for bituminous equipment is anticipated to grow across all markets, with a 1.9-percent increase in the United States, growth of 5 percent for Canada and a 6-percent increase in other worldwide markets. Market predictions for concrete and aggregate are growth of 4.7 percent in the United States, gains of 6.8 percent for Canada and increases of 7.5 percent in other worldwide markets.
Shipments in 2007 of attachments and components are expected to grow by 8.4 percent in the United States, 7.7 percent for Canada and 10.3 percent for other worldwide markets. U.S. sales of miscellaneous equipment are expected to rise 3.6 percent.
Downstate Illinois' largest highway construction project — the four-year, $500-million reconstruction of Interstate 74 through Peoria — is now complete. Major construction activities for Upgrade 74 began in October 2002. During the past four years, crews constructed one new interchange at Sterling Avenue; built two tunnels in downtown Peoria; removed and repaved more than 8 miles of I-74; improved 11 interchanges; reconstructed 32 bridges; built 88 retaining walls; installed 162 lights; and shortened the Murray Baker Bridge by 180 feet to make the Jefferson Street ramp longer and safer.
The American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has named Missouri Department of Transportation Director Pete Rahn as its vice president. In addition, the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Public Relations of America honored Rahn as the Communicator of the Year.