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IndustryNet Blog

U.S. forklift industry reports strong job growth

Posted by IndustryNet on Wednesday, May 2, 2018

repair man with several forklifts in shopForklift manufacturers are an important part of the material handling industry, with hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of jobs.

In addition to strong job growth in the sector over the past year, forklift companies have experienced a slight increase in sales, although to a much lesser extent than job growth.

Before taking a closer look at the recent changes to the forklift manufacturing industry in terms of job growth and other factors, consider how forklift companies are spread across the country.

The South has the largest number of forklift manufacturers, 163 or 42 percent. This is followed by the Midwest with 105 or 27 percent. From there, the West has 67 companies and the Northeast has 52, accounting for 17.31 and 13.44 percent, respectively.

Number of Forklift Companies and related jobs

For an overview of the industry, there are 387 forklift manufacturers and 22,479 jobs. Of those companies, seven are women-owned and two are minority owned, 2 and 1 percent, respectively, of all companies. Those percentages are identical to those of the U.S. manufacturing as a whole.

Related: Choosing the right material handling equipment for your business

Thirty-four of the forklift manufacturing companies import raw materials and 292 companies (75 percent) focus on domestic distribution with 77 (20 percent) offering international distribution.

Additionally, 355 of the companies are private and 21 are public, 92 and 5 percent, respectively. Most of these figures are within a handful of percentage points of the average for U.S. manufacturing as a whole, making forklift manufacturing a typical example of the industry in terms of distribution.

Change in Jobs Over the Yearmaterial handling_forklift

Based on the most recent statistics, the forklift industry has nearly 22,500 jobs. One year ago, it provided upwards of 21,100 employment positions.

This is indicative of the industry experiencing an impressive 6.63 percent growth. Interestingly enough, 13 companies (3 percent) reported employment increases and none reported a decrease in employment.

By comparison, the industry of material handling as a whole saw an increase in jobs of 3.77 percent over the past year, changing from 251,102 jobs to 260,575.

Based on these figures, the 22,479 jobs in forklift manufacturing account for 8.63 percent of the industry's jobs as a whole.

Average Sales and Changes in Sales for Forklift Companies

Forklift manufacturing has a current average sales figure of $24.64 billion. A year ago, this figure was $24.61 billion, which leads to a 0.11 increase in sales. Looking at specific companies will show you none reporting a decline in sales and three (1 percent) reporting an increase.

As the entire industry of material handling experienced a 5.93 percent increase in sales over the past year, growth in forklift manufacturing is relatively small.

At the same time, it still shows a growing demand for the sector and that various businesses continue to rely on forklifts to complete daily tasks. As material handling has average current sales of $229.32 billion, forklift manufacturing accounts for 10.75 percent of those sales.


Forklift manufacturing provides 8.63 percent of the jobs within the overall material handling industry along with 10.75 percent of sales, making it a valuable segment worth paying attention to.

With incredibly strong job growth of 6.63 percent in the past year, forklift manufacturing is a segment to watch, particularly for those interested in tracking industry trends or who plan to make use of the manufactured products.

To connect with a forklift company near you, start your free search on IndustryNet. IndustryNet listings provide comprehensive information on each company, including vital contact information, product and service offerings, ISO ratings, social media links, map and driving directions, catalogs, videos, photos and more.


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