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U.S. furniture factory orders continue to trend upward

HIGH POINT — U.S. furniture factory orders in September were up 4% from the same month a year earlier, the sixth month in a row of gains, Smith Leonard reported.

The accounting and consulting firm also said that residential furniture factory shipments, which usually lag orders, were up 11% in September.

 Furniture Factory orders and shipments in September

"Year to date, new orders remained 6% ahead of the first three quarters of 2012. The good news is that new orders were up for 80% of participants. That is the most in recent memory, certainly since before the recession hit," Ken Smith, managing director of Smith Leonard, said in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter.

He said results of the firm's monthly factory survey were "somewhat in line with expectations. Most of what we heard at (the High Point Market) was that business was reasonably good up until the government shutdown."

Factory shipments for the year to date remained up 4% from the 2012 pace, with about 69% of survey participants reporting increases.

Smith noted that there are positive signs in the economy, with existing home sales still growing over last year despite some issues with loans and lack of inventory, stock prices rising and gas prices relatively low.

But he noted that the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index declined in October and November, and said weak confidence continues to be holding the economy back.

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