Posted August 8, 2023

ARA’s quarterly economic forecast updates rental revenue projections

New considerations substantially increase equipment rental revenue projections through 2024.

The American Rental Association (ARA) has released an updated forecast for the construction and industrial equipment rental industry. In its quarterly update, the ARA presented significant changes in the economic forecast, particularly for construction and industrial equipment (CIE) rental revenues.

In the previous forecast, CIE rental revenue was expected to reach $45.5 billion in 2023 and $46.7 billion in 2024. With new considerations, the CIE rental revenue is expected to total $56 billion this year and $59 billion in 2024.

There are two factors underpinning these changes. The first is the data on non-residential construction spending used in the model and the second is the increasing importance of specialty rental to overall rental revenues.

Recent analysis by economists at the Federal Reserve Board has suggested that data for non-residential construction spending produced by the U.S. Census Bureau has underestimated non-residential construction spending by at least 20 percent since the second quarter of 2021.

“The Fed economists’ analysis is both well-reasoned and analytically sound and we believe that this new information needs to be included in our revised forecast,” says John McClelland, ARA vice president for government affairs and chief economist. “The second change in our forecast is the inclusion of information about specialty rentals, which has been a growing trend. Recent work by ARA partners at S&P Global has constructed a 10-year time series of specialty rental from multiple data sources. Incorporating this new information into our model now gives specialty rentals a larger share among the variables that forecast CIE revenues.”

With current CIE forecasts including both traditional and specialty rental as the new industry measure, Canadian CIE rental revenues are expected to reach $4.4 billion in 2023 as opposed to previous forecasts totaling $3.7 billion. In 2024, Canadian CIE rental revenue is predicted to total $4.4 billion, an increase from the previous forecast of $3.8 billion.

Canadian general tool equipment rental revenue is down slightly from the last forecast at $991 million. However, stronger growth is expected in 2024 and beyond as the forecast indicated 2024 revenue at $1 billion.  

In the United States general tool market, rental revenue growth will slow through 2023, totaling $14.9 billion this year. This is driven by weakness in residential construction markets. Growth in 2024 is predicted to slow as well, with revenues equaling $15.7 billion in 2024.