Distributors optimistic

Distributors optimistic

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

Looking for a regional business with favorable growth prospects? How about wholesale distribution in the Midwest.

Wholesale distributors in the Midwest will outpace the 2004 national forecast for revenue growth by wholesale distribution companies, which is 5.6 percent, according to a study written by Philadelphia-based consulting firm Pembroke Consultants and Economy.com. The study, "NAW Economic Forecast 2004," was produced for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

Among wholesale distribution companies in the Midwest, Illinois is forecast to lead in revenue growth at 6.5 percent followed closely by Wisconsin at 6.2 percent. Distributors in Indiana and Michigan will see revenue climb by 5.4 percent and Ohio''s distributors will see revenue grow 5.2 percent, the report said.

According to the regional analysis, there are approximately 67,000 locations involved with wholesale distribution in the Midwest. These companies employ over 850,000 people in the region in jobs ranging from sales and office workers to truckers and warehouse workers.

The researchers also analyzed growth in different business segments. Distributors of apparel, computers, commercial and medical equipment and electrical products are expected to top the growth league next year as consumers keep spending and businesses invest in new equipment. The lowest growth rates are forecast to occur in the distribution of construction industry products "because the long U.S. housing boom is forecast to end as mortgage rates rise and demand decreases."

On the jobs front, total employment in wholesale distribution is expected to increase by 1.4 percent in 2004. Apparel is forecast to generate the biggest jobs increase of 2.4 percent above the average, with pharmaceutical and plumbing distributors lagging the rest of the industry.