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Furniture factory orders edge up 3% in May; shipments up 5%

HIGH POINT — U.S. furniture factory orders in May were up just 3% from a year earlier following a 13% jump in April, but the drop-off in growth was expected, according to Smith Leonard.

Factory orders table May 2014

“As we noted last month, new orders results were likely skewed due to the timing of the April (High Point) Market, with the 2014 market happening in early April and the 2013 market happening in late April. Combined for the two months, orders increased almost 8%,” said Ken Smith, managing partner of the accounting and consulting firm, which reports the numbers based on its monthly factory survey.

For the year to date, orders remained 5% ahead of last year’s pace. About 60% of the participants in the Smith Leonard survey have reported increased orders this year.

Shipments in May were up 5% from a year earlier, and were running 6% ahead of 2013 for the first five months, the firm said.

“Looking at the national picture, the sun, moon and stars are pretty much in alignment for some continued good business conditions — maybe not great, but at least good,” Smith said in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter.

He cited improved consumer confidence and the estimated 4% GDP growth in the second quarter.

“While housing growth has slowed somewhat, this part of the economy still seems somewhat healthy,” Smith said. “We need more new houses to be built to keep inventories at good levels, but overall housing seems to be helping.”

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