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Furniture factory orders jump 13% in April
Furniture factory orders in April were 13% ahead of April 2013, marking the first monthly double-digit increase this year, according to the latest survey from the Smith Leonard accounting and consulting firm.
The survey also showed that April shipments were 12% ahead of the comparable month last year, while order backlogs were up 13%.
Smith Leonard said some of the increase was probably due to the early start of this year’s April High Point Market, which opened April 5, versus last year’s market, which started April 20. However, the firm also noted that business conditions have improved for most of the industry, and said orders for the first four months of 2014 were 5% ahead of the same period in 2013.
Shipments for the first four months of the year were 6% ahead of the first four months of 2013, the survey said.
“The results of our survey continued to point to better overall business conditions for the residential furniture market,” wrote Ken Smith, Smith Leonard managing partner. “The one drawback we hear from many is that there is still some lack of consistency.”
Smith said the housing market continues to show positive signs from sales of new and existing homes, as well as housing starts, while unemployment remains well below 7%.
But he said the most positive economic indicator was the June consumer confidence index, which stood at its highest level since January 2008.
“This certainly bodes well for the furniture industry as we all pretty much agree that, no matter what the other factors are showing, we have to have good consumer confidence for business to be good,” Smith wrote.
The April increase in factory orders came on the heels of a 9% jump in March. Orders fell 2% in February and were up 2% in January.
Shipments were up 10% in March, but fell 2% in February and rose 3% in January.