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Larry Thomas

Furniture factory orders jump 6% in October

Shipments, backlogs also post increases

HIGH POINT — Furniture factory orders in October were 6% higher than in October 2012 as the industry continued its gradual improvement, according to the monthly industry survey by the accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard.

 Furniture Factory orders table for October 2013

The survey also showed October shipments at U.S. residential furniture factories were 9% higher than in the same month a year earlier, while order backlogs were up 11%.

"Most of the economic news continues to be positive," Smith Leonard managing partner Ken Smith wrote in his Furniture Insights newsletter. "If we can keep this momentum going, then whenever consumer confidence shakes loose, we should see even more positive results."

For the first 10 months of 2013, new orders were 6% ahead of the same period in 2012, while 10-month shipment figures were 5% ahead.

The October increases in new orders and shipments marked the seventh consecutive month that those figures were higher than the comparable month in 2012.

The largest single monthly increase was July, when orders were up 13% from a year earlier.

In his newsletter, Smith noted that existing home sales slowed a bit in November, but the revised GDP showed a 4.1% increase in the third quarter.

"Retail sales were good (not great) overall and were also good at home furniture and home furnishings stores, especially in the November-to-November comparison," Smith wrote. "Inflation also seems under control as Consumer Price Index results were good."

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