According to MHIA’s latest Material Handling Equipment Manufacturing (MHEM) forecast, the decline in new order volumes will slow during the fourth quarter, leading the MHIA to predict possible growth in 2010.

“We are in the middle of a contraction this year, but the worst appears to be over,” said Hal Vandiver, MHIA executive vice president of business development. “The decline in new orders is now forecasted to slow slightly in the last quarter of 2009 and hold the total year decline to 35% to 38%. We now believe that growth in the 2-3.5% range is possible in 2010.”

Other predictions from the MHEM forecast include material handling equipment shipments to contract 35% in 2009, and 5.5% 2010. Domestic demand (shipments plus imports less exports) will also contract about 35% in 2009. Exports are forecasted to decline in 2009 and return to growth in 2010. Domestic demand will be down slightly in 2010.