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There isn't a profession that material handling doesn't touch. So, after after seeing a steady uptick in growth, the head of the Material Handling Industry of America is cautiously optimistic that industry may be waking from its deep sleep.
"We predict a long gradual ascent," says John Nofsinger, CEO of the MHIA. "We don't see a steep V-shape. There won't be a rebound back to 2007-08 levels for two to three years, but from as deep as we were, there will be a steady upward climb." And how deep was the descent? Pre-recession material handling was a $150bn industry. Nofsinger anticipates the industry will probably only reach $125bn by 2011, which indicates a more than $25bn drop off since Lehman Bros. and subsequent bank failures tipped the balance of the economy in September 2008.
For the industry to fully recover, businesses need to release capital to provide infrastructure for the future - not just in material handling but across the board, he notes. "Once confidence starts clicking we should start to see growth. What we're seeing now in the recent two quarters are spotty but regular activities," Nofsinger explains.
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