The report reckons that the UK plant and tool hire market will shrink 2% this year to £4001m.
This follows falls of 2% in 2008 and 16% in 2009, it says.
Profit margins have also been squeezed as intensified price competition has put hire rates under increased pressure. Only civil engineering and the repair & maintenance sectors prevented the plant hire sector from suffering more.
Report authors from market research consultant MDB forecast that next year demand will increase by 1% in real terms, followed by slightly stronger growth in the following four years of between 2% and 5% a year. In 2015 the value of the market is anticipated to reach £4634 million (at 2010 prices), representing overall growth of 16% in real terms compared with the current year.
With the hire sector naturally following construction output trends, strongest market growth will come from private sector civil engineering projects, such as utilities and renewable energy generation.