Construction equipment manufacturers expect overall industry business to turn around slightly in 2010 following double-digit expected year-end 2009 declines in the minus-40-percent range for the United States and minus-30-percent range for Canada and other worldwide sectors, according to the annual "outlook" survey of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Survey respondents then anticipate stronger growth going into 2011, but not enough to erase the severe 2009 business and job losses. Business in 2012 is then expected to level off.

"Even with a modest rebound in the next few years, the construction equipment industry will still be down by double digits, and there will still be double-digit industry unemployment," stated AEM President Dennis Slater. "This is not surprising given the continued instability of the housing market and no long-term commitment to America's roads, rail, airports, water distribution and ports to move people and goods efficiently and safely, and to compete effectively in the global marketplace."

Construction machinery business in the United States was predicted to end 2009 with a 43-percent overall drop and then increase 5 percent in 2010, followed by gains of 15 percent in 2011 and 14 percent in 2012.

For Canada, 2009 business was anticipated to decrease 34-percent overall with a 2010 increase of 7 percent, 14-percent increase in 2011 and 11-percent increase in 2012. Industry business to the rest of the world was expected to close out 2009 with losses of 34 percent, followed by a 2010 gain of 7 percent and growth of 13 percent in 2011 and again in 2012.

There were no surprises on key factors that survey respondents believe will influence construction equipment sales, such as the state of the overall economy, including credit availability, interest rates and consumer confidence levels. Housing starts and highway funding levels will also play a major role in any business rebound. Other major factors are the strength of the U.S. dollar and international business, since the industry is export-intensive.

AEM is the North-American based international trade group representing the off-road equipment manufacturing industry. Each year it surveys its construction equipment manufacturer members about expected sales of the machines that build and repair roads, bridges, houses, offices, schools and other infrastructure in America and worldwide.

AEM consolidates manufacturers' estimates of overall business activity. Each forecast in the survey is the average of responses from companies in each product line, predicting industry wide expectations rather than individual company performance, and unit sales rather than company profitability. The full survey results are online at in the Industry Trends section.