MILWAUKEE — Construction equipment manufacturers anticipate overall business in 2011 to finish with double-digit increases compared with 2010 in the United States, Canada and worldwide, according to the annual business outlook survey conducted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The group expects growth to continue in 2012 but at a slower pace through 2014.

Respondents were asked to rank several factors affecting future business. The state of the general economy, including consumer confidence and credit availability, plus steel prices and the protracted slump in single-family housing starts, are significant negative factors influencing future sales, respondents said. A key positive factor cited was the continued strength in export demand. The lack of substantial action on highway funding was also cited as a concern.

For 2011, overall business is expected to grow 18.6 percent in the United States, year over year. Canadian business is forecast to jump 14.7 percent and for the rest of the world, also growth is expected at a 14.7-percent clip.

U.S. construction machinery business is predicted to jump 10.8 percent in 2012, 9.9 percent in 2013 and 8.1 percent in 2014. Canadian business is expected to increase 9 percent in 2012, 9.8 percent in 2013 and 7.3 percent in 2014. Industry business to the rest of the world is projected to jump 10.5 percent in 2012, 9.5 percent in 2013 and 8.2 percent in 2014.

“In 2011, construction equipment manufacturing kept improving from the depths of the recession as the economy stabilized,” said AEM president Dennis Slater. “Earlier this year, it looked like the economy was truly turning around, but we still have some uncertainty, in both U.S. and international markets, and this is hampering stronger, more sustainable growth. 2012 is an election year, which does not bode well for meaningful action in Washington; both sides are already in full ‘campaign mode’ it seems, and this presents a real danger of a stalling economy.”

Slater added that Congress needs to focus on manufacturing policies that create and maintain jobs, not unnecessary and excessive regulatory and tax policy burdens.