After one of the biggest winter storms to hit the East Coast, the Snow & Ice Management Association (SIMA) is releasing a report revealing that removing snow and ice (S&I) under private contract is estimated to be a $16.8 billion industry.
“While most people are ready for spring and dread a snowstorm in mid-March, snow and ice contractors rely on providing winter weather services as a business that creates jobs and boosts the economy," says Martin B. Tirado, executive director of SIMA.
110,000 workers comprise the privatized snow and ice industry and of these, 88,000 are sole practitioners, says the report. The average operator has been in business 15.4 years and about 1/3 have more than 20 years of experience.
As a whole, the S&I industry has been growing 3.8% annually, and is expected to continue growing at 3.2% through 2019, which is slightly faster than growth of U.S. GDP of 2.5% per year.
But like many other industries in the U.S., automation will likely lead to its downfall. Drones and robots that remove snow, and solar technology that prevents roads from freezing may increase the growth of the privatized S&I industry.
The total snowplowing industry employs more than 260,000 workers. Almost 1.3 million workers comprise the ground maintenance workers, a larger group that includes many who remove snow and ice.