According to industry estimates, overall shipments of hand-held products (hand-held blowers, backpack blowers, trimmers and chainsaws) are forecast to post moderate growth during calendar year 2005, reaching 12.2 million units. Shipments of these products are forecast to contract 4.4 percent during 2006. Even though annual shipments for hand-held products will be lower in 2007 than 2006, the recovery will be well underway in the second-half of 2007.

Factors impacting the expected slow period include: the still high federal budget deficit, continued record prices for a barrel of oil and an expected slow down in the new and existing home markets — brought on by higher interest rates.

For 2005, most all hand-held products will see growth except for hand-held blowers. In 2007, the overall decline will not be as significant and hand-held blowers will be on the rebound — as the only hand-held product forecast to increase over 2006. For all products combined, however, shipments will fall 1.6 percent from 2006 to 2007, totaling 11.4 million units for the year.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI's) Econometric Forecast is prepared by Association Research Inc., based on the national economic outlook prepared by the Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics at the University of Michigan.

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