Nearly every product sold in this country is touched by a forklift in its lifetime, and a new report issued in June quantifies this manufacturing sector’s strong economic impact and employment rates. The report from the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) and Oxford Economics offers detailed data at national and state levels.
“Forklifts have been lifting America’s economy for over a century and we can now quantify our industry’s economic contributions to the overall U.S. economy,” said Brett Wood, CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America and chairman of ITA.
The report, entitled "Lifting America: The Economic Impact of Forklift Manufacturers, Dealers and Distributors," includes several significant findings, such as:
- The industry’s economic contribution to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) was $25.7 billion in 2015.
- The industry’s activity supports a total of 209,000 U.S. jobs.
- Each job within the industry supports 2.5 additional jobs elsewhere in the U.S. economy.
- The industrial truck manufacturing industry workforce has a greater share of veterans compared to all other manufacturing as well as other industries.
- In 2015, the industry paid $5.3 billion to local, state and federal governments in taxes.
- Globally, more than 1 million industrial truck or forklift units are sold annually.
- In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, more than 230,000 units were sold in 2016.
- With over 200,000 units in the U.S. alone, more than 60% are electric
Manufacturers of industrial trucks make a widespread contribution throughout the U.S. economy. Of the $25.7 billion total contribution to GDP, some $14.9 billion results from supply chain and consumer spending activities.
Overall, the sector benefits other parts of the national economy, including, for example, $3.5 billion in trade, transportation and utilities; $2.1 billion in professional and business services; and $1.1 billion in education and health services.
“Industrial trucks play an important functional role in the production process in virtually every industry.” said Brian Feehan, president of ITA.
In total, industrial truck manufacturers support more than 209,600 jobs. The companies directly employ more than 59,700 workers in manufacturing, sales and support staff positions.
In addition, for each worker directly employed by the industrial truck sector, 2.5 additional jobs are supported in the wider economy, either in the supply chains of industrial truck manufacturers or through the wage spending of those employed by the firms themselves or their supply chains.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than 540,000 forklift operators are employed across the country in all 50 states. “Workers in this sector are highly productive, and wages reflect this with above average annual income and placing them above the median income earners in most states,” said Hamilton Galloway, Head of Consulting, Americas for Oxford Economics.