US construction equipment exports down 19%

By Mike Hayes04 March 2016

Year-end figures from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) show a 19% decline in the export of US-made construction equipment worldwide.

At US$ 13.9 billion, the AEM report’s figure for exported goods from the country marks the third consecutive annual fall in overseas sales.

Similarly feeling the pinch is Caterpillar, the country’s (and the world’s) largest construction equipment manufacturer, with the company’s shares falling 24% in 2015, compared with the previous year.

The company’s chairman and CEO, Doug Oberhelman, recently said, “…sales and revenues remain under pressure from weak commodity prices and slowing economic growth in developing countries.”

The AEM report cites US Department of Commerce data and reveals a decline in construction equipment sales to all world regions, with exports to Africa and South America significantly down (by 37% and 33% respectively).

US exports around the world also fell in the following regions, compared with 2014:

  • Canada -18%, to US$ 5.5 billion
  • Asia -10%, to $ 1.8 billion
  • Europe -12%, to $ 1.7 billion
  • Central America -23%, to $1.5 billion
  • Australia/Oceania -1% to $ 882 million

AEM’s Benjamin Duyck, director of market intelligence, said, “These declines do need to be placed in the proper context as exports boomed after the great recession and strongly supported the US construction equipment industry.”

He added, “Global economic markets such as China and Brazil are experiencing deep-rooted structural problems and a strong US dollar is making US exports more expensive for international buyers. The lower commodity prices (metals and energy) are causing shifts in some market segments and equipment demand, domestically and internationally.”

Delivered directly to your inbox, World Construction Week Newsletter features the pick of the breaking news stories, product launches, show reports and more from KHL's world-class editorial team.
Longer Reads
How can employers overcome skills shortages and fill vacancies?
As the pandemic further exacerbates problems finding good new employees, how can employers fill vacancies? 
How is digitisation changing the falsework and framework process?
Digitisation is taking hold in several areas of the falsework and formwork process, enabling the sector to increase efficiency, reduce costs and plan even more ambitious projects
Is construction taking slave labour seriously?
The International Labour Organisation estimates that 4.5 million people are currently working in construction against their will
Andy Brown Editor, International Construction Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 224 E-mail:
Simon Kelly Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 223 E-mail: