The Industrial Truck Association (ITA) has announced that 2017 was the third consecutive year of record-breaking forklift sales in North America. Over 250,000 units were sold marking a nearly 10 percent increase from 2016.
These record-breaking numbers took even industry insiders by surprise.
“The 2017 sales numbers of 253,146 exceeded most industry expectations,” said Brian Feehan, president of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA), in a press release. He added that e-commerce and the solid economic performance of the U.S. contributed to the record year.
“Reaching the quarter-million unit mark in sales is a major milestone for the industry,” said Feehan. In 2015, a record was set with 225,534 units sold, and the 2017 numbers reflect a 12 percent increase over that. Clearly, the industrial truck industry is in robust shape.
Scott Johnson, chairman of the ITA board of directors, was quoted in the press release as saying, “This growth reflects the health and stability of the lift truck manufacturing industry.”
Johnson has good reason for his optimistic view of the industry, as a report from the ITA and Oxford Economics sheds even more light on the lift truck industry’s impact on employment and the GDP in America.
The joint report taken in tandem with 2017’s record sales demonstrates the importance of industrial trucks to the economy.
The booming growth of the lift truck industry has created ripple effects throughout other sectors in the U.S. In fact, the report estimates that for each worker directly employed by the industrial truck industry, 2.5 more jobs are generated in supply chains and other areas. Best of all, these “induced” jobs have an average annual salary of $50,915 — a good wage that allows workers to spend more money, which contributes even more to a growing economy.
The ITA board of directors is thrilled with the bullish outlook. “In 2015 our industry contributed over $25 billion annually to the U.S. GDP and supported approximately 209,000 U.S. jobs. We are excited about how this market growth contributes to today’s economy,” Johnson said.
All of this news comes on the heels of forklifts turning 100 years old.
In 1917, CLARK Equipment company manufactured the first internal combustion industrial truck. Now, 100 years later, the lift truck industry can confidently claim to be the backbone of the American economy. Despite all of the changes and innovations (including the advent of pallets during World War II), forklifts keep on trucking in American warehouses.