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Furniture factory orders gain 9% in June

HIGH POINT - New furniture factory orders were up about 9% in June versus the prior year's comparable number, according to the latest survey from accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard.
     While June's orders were down 6% from May, the decrease was "somewhat normal" since some market orders placed in May wouldn't normally be placed in June, the August newsletter said.
   The results are based on a monthly survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors.
     Key indicators for the furniture industry are "fairly" positive, managing partner Ken Smith wrote in a newsletter accompanying the survey results.
     "The reports from the recent Vegas Market were positive. And, for the most part, the people we have spoken with recently have also been positive, after you get by the fact that it's not as good as they would like for it to be," Smith said.
     "While we would love to see more robust growth, at least the growth that is happening is helping many in the industry," he noted.
     Smith said that both results and conversations indicate definite business shifts from some companies to others.
     New orders were up for 64% of the participants in June, down slightly from 68% in May. Year-to-date, new orders through June were 4% higher. About 76% of the survey's participants reported increased orders year-to-date, up from about 67% reporting last month.
     Shipments were also up 8% over June 2012. About 72% of the participants reported increased shipments over June a year ago.
     While there's been no shortage of good economic indicators this year, Smith pointed to several more recent items that could be negative drags on the economy.
     They include a lack of sufficient job growth, high unemployment, rising interest rates and fluctuating gas and energy costs - and possible intervention in Syria's civil war.

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