New orders for home furnishings products increased 7 percent in October from October 2017, according to Smith Leonard’s survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors. The report was released Dec. 28.
“In recent conversations, we have heard that business has slowed somewhat, but our latest survey continued to show positive results,” the High Point, N.C., accounting and consulting firm with extensive experience in the furniture industry commented. “The last five months have produced nice increases in new orders. We would expect some slower growth based on these conversations in November and possibly December. Consumer confidence has remained at high levels in spite of the declines in the stock market. It appears that consumers are not paying as much attention to the market swings as they are other factors, such as the holiday season and good economic and job reports, etc.”
“Year to date, new orders remained 6 percent ahead of the same period a year ago,” the report added. “Some 68 percent of the participants have reported increased orders year to date.”
The survey found that furniture factory and warehouse employment was down 2 percent in October from October 2017 and has been down 1 percent to 2 percent all year. But payrolls were 4 percent higher than a year earlier and year to date have been up 2 percent.
Smith Leonard forecast that “the first half of 2019 will continue with a strong economy, even if maybe not quite as strong as it has been.”