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Furniture factory orders jump 10% in September over 2011

 Image of Factory Table September 2012

HIGH POINT — U.S. residential furniture factory orders were up 10% in September compared with the same month a year earlier, but some companies had a much better month than others, Smith Leonard reported.

"We believe some of the monthly increase may have been related to timing of some of the orders as several participants reported significant double digit increases. Only 53% of the participants reported increased shipments," Ken Smith, managing partner of the accounting and consulting firm, said in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter.

Shipments, which usually lag orders, were down 1% from September 2011. Timing and the calendar were factors, Smith said, with only 19 working days in September this year (excluding Labor Day) compared with 21 last year.

For the year through September, orders were up 5% and shipments were up 7%, according to the firm's factory survey.

Smith noted some positive signs in the economy, with consumer confidence at its highest point in four or five years according to national surveys, home prices rising, and sales at furniture and home furnishings stores up 8.4% for the first 10 months of 2012, according to government statistics.

"Let's hope we can continue to move forward and Congress doesn't do anything stupid to push us back again," he added.

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