In reviewing Construction Equipment's Annual Report & Forecasts from the past few years, we realize just how much the process of renewing the Federal transportation funding bill has affected the industry. Although the government finally reauthorized last year, 2005 also gave us destruction in New Orleans, tire and machine shortages, and escalating fuel costs.
The year certainly had its effect on equipment-owning fleets and their suppliers. Government agencies are still dealing with tighter budgets, and contractors and materials producers continue to be cautious even as construction markets exhibit positive signs. On the other hand, nonconstruction has rebounded solidly. And suppliers, both rental and distribution, report renewed strength.
All told, the industry enters 2006 on a firm foundation.
Welcome to Construction Equipment/Case Construction Equipment's 2006 Annual Report & Forecast. Construction Equipment has reported on the state of the economy and the industry with these annual reports for nearly 25 years.
Each year, the report has tapped the expertise of Construction Equipment's top construction economist for an overview of the nation's economic status. Then, we report on the largest exclusive survey in the industry of equipment owners and managers.
Finally, we turn to the distribution and rental dealer side of the equation. This year, we are again fortunate to have partnered with the two industry associations in those areas to poll their members: The American Rental Association and the Associated Equipment Distributors. Thanks to both of these fine organizations.
We mailed the 2005–06 questionnaires in September. More than 11,000 questionnaires were mailed, with about 2,200 usable questionnaires returned for an overall response rate of 20 percent.
As in past years, we promised those who received our questionnaires, and especially those who responded, that we would publish the results for the benefit of the entire industry. This special report contains those results. To those whose participation made the 2006 Annual Report & Forecast a success, we thank you.
We also thank Case Construction Equipment, sponsors of the Annual Report & Forecast for the fourth consecutive year. Case is a full-line manufacturer of earthmoving equipment, and its support of this project has allowed us to publish substantial amounts of data and analysis for your use.
Rod Sutton, Editor in Chief