U.S. packaging machinery shipments reached $4.89 billion, an $82 million increase over 2002, says the Tenth Annual Shipments and Outlook Study conducted by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI).

According to PMMI, exports of U.S. packaging machinery jumped 33.1% in 2003, hitting $952 million, the highest level of export sales in five years. Domestic sales were down by 3.8% for the year, but a record backlog of $1.3 billion, up 23.6% from 2002, reflects positive influences in the economy. Of the 16 defined packaging machinery segments, 12 increased sales and only four decreased.

“The 2003 numbers indicate a strengthening economy in a competitive international marketplace,” says Charles D. Yuska, PMMI president. “Manufacturers are now experiencing a genuine economic revival, and we expect to see continued economic growth.”

PMMI forecasts U.S. shipments of packaging machinery to grow at a cumulative annual rate of 3.9% over the next three years, from an estimated $4.89 to $5.49 billion by 2006.