According to Adam Fein, author of the 2008 Wholesale Distribution Economic Reports, 2008 will be a positive year for industrial distributors, though growth will be slower and uneven across the country. Industrial distributors are tied more closely to the industrial manufacturing economy than any other wholesale distribution sector, Fein writes in the latest issue of MDM. (Click here to view the issue.)
Revenues of industrial distributors rise and fall with manufacturing activity, though the link has become slightly weaker in recent years as more traditional industrial distributors diversify into more general commercial facility supply. Manufacturing capacity utilization, which remained above 80% in 2007, started to trend downward in late 2007 and early 2008. However, utilization remains well above the twenty-year low of 72% hit in 2001
Fein says that the evidence of a slowdown is inescapable at this point. The residential construction boom will take at least a few years -not a few months -to unwind. Both home sales and residential construction activity are unlikely to rebound until mid-2009 and possibly later. Domestic demand for construction machinery will be weak, though export-led growth will boom.
Certain manufacturing sectors will experience robust growth in 2008, including farm equipment thanks to high agricultural prices and machine for exploration and refining of oil and gas.